Don’t be disappointed If someone doesn’t understand you
Just don’t go looking for milk In a hardware store! (~unknown)
P.S. Dear WP friends, on this lighter note, I am taking a blog break for the month of September …to go to all hardware stores… oh no, not really 🙂 …actually to spend time reintegrating myself, reorganizing life, spending time with family, do some housekeeping around the blogsite. I will perhaps not be able to stay completely away, so might come visit your work every now and then 🙂 Infinite gratitude for your support for Infinite Living.
Note: I had used the quote above in my post on May 30, 2017. It felt good to go on this break with it. I look forward to coming back regrouped and refreshed, perhaps hoping to have touched upon some spaces of lightness and fun!
Photo by myself: Crater Lake, Oregon. Unedited mobile click – what is so ordinary or extraordinary about this picture?
It helps to blur the line between ordinary and extraordinary, whichever end we think us to be on. When extraordinary strength is required for everyday life during challenging situations that seem to be present for a long term, it helps to remember that even ‘normal’ life feels the same periodically.
I realized this when I dealt with a difficult illness for some years with no break of ‘normalcy’. I decidedly trained myself to accept my new normal and then the days that felt really hard became just like any ‘normal’ life. It lifted the burden of Why Me-s and made it somewhat more acceptable to live through the ordinary pain of a seemingly extra-ordinary situation (or vice versa).
And when we think of us as ordinary and normal it helps to remember that we hold the potential for extraordinary. When life is ‘normal’ we take it for granted that only some special people have strength. We forget that they are choosing to be strong. All of us have the choice to go a bit beyond our comfort zone, with integrity to our well being.
I love and admire people who have, what I don’t have in me yet. We need all shades of capacity, resilience and joy in differing measures from time to time. I keep learning to love myself more and more with all my perceived shortcomings. It gives a renewed taste of newfound freedom continually.
All things big and small when dropped to the felt sense become our internal experiences. No experience is ordinary or extra-ordinary, in some ways. Just because it happens to everyone and is normal, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be affected. If our thoughts and emotions are taking over that means our experience is real. It is affecting the quality of our life. Acceptance is being aware of all of that.
When fear grips, it means some perceived and real experiences have left us with no control over how we feel and choose. It becomes a struggle even when we have had a taste of divine faith before. We now seem to have lost the ability to be congruent with the core of our original being. When our system is out of balance the fear might bring up some pain or symptom in the body. We might feel agitation or confusion in the mind, we lose the capacity to connect with divine faith.
It is helpful at such times to create experiences to influence our system in the direction of balance. This can be done in various ways. A breathing practice that brings the body and mind to a calmer & clearer state of being, time in solitude or nature with nurturing activities. To me sometimes I just need honest conversations with people who can act as authentic mirrors to me. Either a friend or mentor who reinforces and channels that sense of trust, faith or divine connection back in our system.
I have found tremendous rich value in this process of intentional shifts between imbalance & balance, ordinary & extraordinary, and fear & faith. I am blessed to be a receiver of such reinforcements from friends and teachers that I reach out to.
I am also grateful to have opportunities to facilitate such shifts through the yoga classes that I teach in group and private sessions. If you are curious check my humble yoga website: http://www.YogaSaar.com
This post is from a train of thoughts that I had saved in my drafts. I would be honored to know what came up for you and if we are able to exchange perspectives.
I shared about my recent knee pain here and how I used it as an opportunity for deeper healing. Since then I have had quite a few conversations with curious and also concerned friends. I was encouraged by one of them to write this part 2 for my post “Liquid Gold” Following are some of the questions/comments I received along with my responses.
Why do you share about your pain publicly? Doesn’t it hurt your image as a healthy yoga teacher, and affect your business?
I do not have a brand to create in this moment, if at all, I am the brand for who and how I am. If there is any public image I strive for, it would be one of authenticity. I am in the business of creating myself in the truest expression of my spirit, and I facilitate that process for my students to the extent they would choose to go. I am a good coach to help someone identify what it is in their way & reach their goals with clarity, if we are a good match to each other.
I am as curious as you are, if my approach creates a well paying business for myself. I am open to discovering it. I forever keep pushing the edges of my skills, courage and vulnerability, and will keep showing up with all that I have in the moment. The results come abundantly in ways we are open to receiving, and that can look different for each one of us. I refuse to create an image of that which I am not in my being and becoming.
You practice yoga every day and also teach people, then how come you have such knee pain suddenly?
I am a human first, then a teacher, practitioner and everything else. Yoga practice does not give me a pain-free pass through life. It gives me the ability to become present to the pain and find a positive skillful way of being through it, and maybe out of it. It gives me the capacity to discern clearly, where is the pain coming from – is it purely physical, or is it also from some stagnant emotions? Is it being inflicted and accumulated from some mental belief that has us make certain choices repeatedly? Often pain has deeper roots than we can imagine.
I am skilled at facilitating this process for others, designing practices that help them become aware of their own body, mind, emotion patterns, and replace them with more aligned, balanced patterns.
Iam a bit worried about you, Pragalbha. Are you taking health risks by treating yourself with yoga & spiritual stuff? Do these affirmations and all work for you because you are really specially spiritual or are you really doing something scientific?
This is in no way to replace expert medical advise (which I did take). I simply believe I have absolutely contributed to whatever pain emerges in my body, and so I need to be of equal or more contribution to my recovery from pain. Sometimes there are perspectives and choices that are needed in addition and for any medicine to take sustained effect.
While my doctor focused on the inflammation aspect of my pain, I focused on lengthening my spine with postural yoga to relieve strain on my knee joint, using my breath to keep my mind calm & clear, and other ways to clear out emotions like fear, inflexibility, anger, resentment that tend to create stiffness and pain in joints. In my case, my knee needed help to allow me to move forward literally and in life. I still have some lingering moments of pain coming back, reminding me that I am falling back into my old patterns. Pain is a very intelligent medium that helps us by its presence, until we heal wholly, deeply and fully. I am in touch with my expert medical practitioner for advice as needed.
Yoga is a science and practice of Being. It helps us get skilled at Being through circumstances without added stresses like fear or worry for example. It helps us get through difficult situations with much more ease, without anything become a major impediment. We are able to function in ways that otherwise might not have become possible. I have seen countless examples of this in students that I work with, be it physical pain or other stresses of life. And of course, I hope to keep sharing my personal journey with honesty.
P.S. If you liked this article, you might like the poem Questions Answered that I wrote back in 2017.
During one of the weekend trainings that I was taking about 5 years ago, another girl who was about my height or an inch taller, came up to me and said
“At your height, you really teach us how to stand really really tall!”
I had a good laugh with her and responded “This (height) is all I ever got, so I just stand that’s all”
She then shared with me how my passionate contributions to discussions had helped her gain confidence in her ability to speak up for herself, ask questions in front of the group.
I don’t remember being bothered, but I have been reminded all my life of being short. Nobody did the reminder as amazingly for me as this kind classmate did!
I thought this was the most memorable thing that anyone said to me. Then few months ago, I was in a phone conversation with a long time friend, sharing our latest life experiences with each other lovingly. She suddenly said “You know Pragalbha –
You live as if someone getting a PhD on the subject of life itself… not just studying but actually living it”
I was speechless, also because I only have an idea of the amount of meticulous research and dedication required of those who pursue the PhD degree. I do not have the experience of it. My educated friend went on to remind me “Oh you are no different, always remember that. You have a similar passion and dedication towards life itself, and to my eyes you live exactly like any other PhD aspirant.”
I remember being bothered by my lack of higher education and degrees behind my name during my younger years. It used to cut into my sense of self worth. A lot of life happened before I grew out of that and found my purpose in life. I feel content and blessed for how I was guided all along to reach where I am. I was absolutely humbled with what my kind friend had to say about my approach to life.
Now I have 2 most memorable things anyone said to me that make me smile when I remember them :)))
I would love to know – What are the most memorable compliments given to you? What do you think of those I shared?
I used to remain small to keep others comfortable They did console themselves that I am nobody big
I am nobody big I am no small either
There is a big difference…
I wish us all to continue to live with the truth of our being, with courage and compassion in relation to each other. I found this in the corners of my old drafts, while I was looking for something else. I enjoyed reading it back to myself and thought I should share it 🙂
Those who seem to be happy all the time Don’t judge them or take them for granted. Often they have taken deep dives into grief or depression. They have somehow managed not to drown and that’s why the smile.
Those who think & act from the heart Don’t try to fix them, it is not a weakness. Often they are being their own version of strength. They are somehow trying not to hurt anyone and that’s why the tears.
What if we actually live all that we have been feeling & made guilty of? Instead of forever trying to keep living & convincing otherwise? Where else does this question seem relevant to you?
2020 is a long year. And yet it is already mid-November 2020.
My 15 year old said to me the other day “I can’t imagine living to 80 or 90 year old. That is just too much. I feel like I am on this Earth for too long already. I think it is tiring to keep living that long” He had said the exact same thing when he was 13 too.
I was speechless as to how to respond both times and a bit saddened that he thinks so. It took us few more conversations to arrive at the conclusion that the more we live to deliver to the expectations of social constructs, more tedious it seems to keep living.
I explained to him that I actually feel very young and I am forever learning something, growing, waiting to begin my life as if, and find that this lifetime wouldn’t be enough for what I think is possible. He explained to me that he doesn’t have time to think all that after attending school for 6 hours and working at assignments for another 5 or more hours. Then all we did was nod and smile at each other for what we had realized for ourselves.
The days are very long for my son who is in high school. The days can seem very short for me as I juggle my time between family chores and my personal pursuits. It can easily become overwhelming if I try to figure out what I should be doing. Most answers come from definitions of success and other conditioning. I have come to value Being – being at peace and joy and ease through anything that I am doing. This in itself becomes difficult at times as it involves setting boundaries and clearing attachment to certain ways of being.
It is a continuous process of discovery “What do I really want to do today?” that seems in alignment with me being my authentic self, in this moment and situation. Because life is very short really, to spend it any other way.
Dear friends and readers, I have made a friendly commitment to myself to post here every Monday. So I showed up today and simply decided to share what was lingering within and accessible to be expressed in words. I am absolutely thrilled to see if you have any thoughts to share with me on what became this post 🙂
I gave you valid respect for your given role in my life. I will never falter in that. I became weak, I cried. You scolded, told me to become strong. I did. You can’t stand me now.
I have no desire for power games. Each time you try to make me small, I hurt a bit, a lot and then just become tall. I desire respect for who I am and regard for my personal growth.
I shared with you that genuineness in relationships is required for me. You explained how I am being unreasonable. You thought you helped me understand. Sadly, I understood what you said.
I said it is important to show more care for each other. Soon it became a game of guilt-tripping grievances, while flaunting privileges. I wasn’t interested in those. I quit engaging. I am learning to be ok.
I kept my stories positive. I didn’t share what I really struggled & triumphed through. Validated, empathized and supported you inside out. You took me for granted and declared that I am lucky I have it all so easy. I am learning to find a balance.
You have given me a lot of goodness, helped in times of need. I expressed profound gratitude at every opportunity. I am done being made indebted to you forever. I perhaps bring no other value to you.
You praised my spiritual writing in public and in person. Then you said I was foolish to actually attempt to live what I wrote. I need to be loyal to my own word. I think you should have no say in that.
I have acknowledged both your struggles and your privileges without agenda and envy. I think I have suffered enough humanly, if that’s the competition we are in, to prove our worth. I now go for continual joy and gratitude. You preach me positivity while pointedly reminding me of my lack. I become weak only because I care and want to trust you.
You are so so lovely, I would love to create some fun moments with you, instead of you trying to make me jealous with other people. I wish we are truly that which we take turns trying to become/show. Have a cup of smiles, perhaps with some sweet, bitter, hot, perfect brew. I want us to speak easy and true, or then why bother with the façade/role play?
Praise is not the expectation behind any of my action. Love is the intention behind all I say and do. I feel deeply. I mean what I say. Your mixed layers of what you say, what you really mean and you intend to convey something underneath saying something in the perfect nice words – it is exhausting to me.
Respect & Love exist as attitudes, trickling into action and words. Certainly not true when the words are claimed, assumed, imagined, explained. All this while continually invalidating others’ feelings, in the guise of wanting to make them strong and positive.
These are things I have tried hard not to say.
Today I decided to get them out of the way. I am not perfect, made my own human mistakes. I am working my way through. All this is what I really think sometimes, before I work diligently at letting go of expectations and acceptance of what is.
When emotional I am often unskilled at expressing, wanting to keep the love and kindness, fearing loss of relations. It is ok I think now, to say what I really mean without trying to make it into something nice. It is ok to love myself as much as anyone else.
I am learning to become unapologetically myself, still humble and authentic, valuing positivity and peace, yet more unapologetically myself. All my heart feels is Love in this moment and I am willing to grow to be able to live it to the fullest extent of it.
Post Update because of some comments I am getting : This is not about a single person in my life. I share a good marriage with my husband – we grow together as individuals. This is a compilation of various journeys with multipleinteractions in life. Not an exact experience of this moment but a description of cumulative experiences I have been working through. A venting of how I think relations work in some ways in society, that I am growing out of very clearly, and felt the nudge to put it out in the Universe for anyone who might find it helpful and mark my own journey ahead.
Related posts from the past, if you feel inclined –
Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor. It means letting go of the idea of what the result looks like. Goodness comes in ten thousand and different ways. We fixate on having it come a certain way.
Be open to receive what’s coming to you. We shut ourselves off from what is coming to us. We do that with our busyness or often with feelings of unworthiness. Always filling the spaces available to us with ‘doing’ and ‘trying’.
We then go into judgment of self, and rest of the world. That is a sure way to find a million upsetting things in our life. Things, not even in our immediate life, upset us. We go about finding glory in all the suffering we endure in all our pursuits.
There are so many things that need not define our life. There are so many pre-organized structures that don’t really work for us. We seem to think it is comfortable to make ourselves fit into them. We imagine it would be our success to show growth within those structures.
There are some given structures that are nourishing to us. Those that give us certain joys, stability and security. Those are our gifts to receive from, and find our worthiness through them. There are some areas of our personal growths that need the freedom of creation.
Be willing to create, express and offer exactly what you want.There are no barriers in the space that is not restricted by definitions. Most things come to us in ways we haven’t ever thought about them. Don’t lock yourself up in finite ways of achieving things.
Keep your self-reflection with kindness and compassion. Have a willing contribution towards your pursuit. Let go of the idea of how it should be coming to you. Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor.
This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects! You will find this blog very inspiring.