My new daughter Gretta is 3 weeks old and continues to amaze me…except at night when the sleep deprivation sets in and I can’t remember how many times I’ve pulled myself out of bed to feed, soothe, comfort or rock. This morning, I found myself pulling baby books off my shelf searching for tips about how to improve our sleep at night.
Did I find the “answer”? Of course not.
Instead, I was struck with the notion of “acceptance” and “impermanence.” This time of sleeplessness will end, and will no doubt be replaced with another parenting or life challenge. Likewise, there isn’t some precious time in the future when all the loose ends will be tied up, or when everything is perfectly balanced. The true challenge is being present with whatever is arising in life – whether its sleeplessness, the excitement of a new relationship or opportunity, or the repetitive daily grind.
I think of how often my yoga practice has taught me acceptance. Sometimes it’s acceptance that my body isn’t moving like I want it to and I need to rest when others around me don’t. Sometimes it’s acceptance that I’m anxious and buzzing and need to burn off energy and my teacher has planned a quieting and restorative class. Life isn’t always according to what we had “planned” in our mind, yet despite this, it has a way of working out. Even when I walk into a yoga class and things don’t go the way I had expected, I always walk out in a better state of mind and body.
One of the things that seems to keep many of us unhappy is this constant searching for the life we think we “should be having,” either at the home level, the career level, or the emotional and mental level. As Joseph Campbell has so aptly pointed out, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
May you approach your practice and your week from a place of acceptance for what is and a curiosity for what might appear when your attitude and eyes are open to the direction life is leading you.