Learning to let go
By Julia E. Sanchez (Spain)
The summer of 2019, I felt lost. I kept on spinning in a spiral of same people, same places and same things that I did not know how to break. I needed something new to engage my mind and body! I chose yoga in an effort to calibrate the flood of feelings that swarmed within and around me every day. In each class, I felt both at ease and awkward, but mostly awkward. I looked to those around me for hints on how to contour and hold myself in positions that felt unnatural. I resorted to my own playbook of how I usually overcome challenging situations. I tried harder, increased my level of concentration as evidenced by the stern look on my face during practice and demanded more exertion with each pose. I kept up this pattern for more than a year thinking I would eventually improve and transcend my beginner’s status. Instead, I experienced diverging ratios of energy to exhaustion that left me questioning my methods.
As I tried to reconcile my efforts with my results, I remembered a phrase that my yoga instructor often uses in guiding us through difficult practices. The phrase had stuck in my mind and as I replayed it with deep curiosity, it helped me to examine both yoga and life with a fresh outlook. The phrase, “It’s painful to let go” gave me a powerful metaphor that I used to reflect and observe how our very own preconceptions of outcomes directly collide with reality. In these situations, we feel confusion, anger, pain, and frustration. Yet what really hurts us most boils down to the actual struggle. The process of fighting with ourselves to make sense of things, to stay on track, and hold onto our plans and the past. We struggle to control what we see rather than staying open to the unknown.
As we approach the end of 2020, after struggling with my own adversities, I finally understand the depth of the phrase it’s painful to let go. In fact, I view the phrase as an understatement. It is extremely painful to let go! Yet as we continue to practice releasing and letting go, we can find a sense of peace and new found inspiration in that unknown space, a space of endless possibilities and outcomes that stretch our imaginations beyond the limits we have set for ourselves. I still consider myself an amateur at yoga and life, but I am clear on my intentions for 2021 and beyond, to transcend the pain of the unexpected to reach a place of comfort and hope for the future.