I’ve been listening to the wonderful Anne Lamott on my iPhone’s audiobook app as I commute on the subway to and from clients and classes. I love her mellow, soothing voice tell the true tales of her spiritual and sincere pursuits of goodness. Her calmness helps me swallow the hard truths more gently. These hards truths include but are not limited to: life is challenging, and we’re imperfect creatures fumbling and bumbling around alone, then every once in a while running into another imperfect creature and attempting to handle their delicate spirits, sometimes badly. “Life,” she says, “is change and what we need is muscle, flexibility and awareness.”
Ms. Lamott seems to be a highly evolved spiritual person, full of reflection and personality and often writes sentences like “What the fuck?” followed by soulful and genuine pleas to God. She’s taught me that the two best prayers ever are “Help help,” and “Thank you thank you.” If you’ve never read her, please do so.
Let me curtail this slightly embarrassing author ass-kissing moment to bring you the June Focus of the Month (which, actually, is NOT Anne Lamott. Sorry, my love.) Life is all change and challenge, one thing after another, and the very thought of this makes me want to crawl back into bed and nap until the weekend. Personally, life has been all change-y and challenge-y for me lately. Fear and its minions, like uncertainty, self-doubt, and anxiety hang over my head, not like a cloud (a cloud sounds so peaceful and dreamy), but more like a hive of bees, buzzing around loudly and annoyingly.
“You can’t always get what you want, but you find sometimes you get what you need.” This little adage probably exists somewhere in some ancient yogic text or Bible in one form or another, but the Rolling Stones’ version is perfectly spiritual and profound and meaningful, a pop-music proverb. You don’t need scripture to tell you that wanting and needing are different and conflicting, we go through it everyday in the practice of choice, especially in the really tough choices. The first step is distinguishing between want and need. The next step is to reconcile them.
Life is change. We need muscle, flexibility, awareness. I really needed to hear these words, and I received them on the uptown F train. And then I stepped onto my mat, like I’ve done thousands of times, and said to myself that practice is change too. Practice is all muscle and momentum and aligning and listening, and then stopping that entirely, dropping into calm and stillness for a few minutes.
How awesomely refreshing it is when you have that moment, when your yoga practice falls into step with your wild, change-y and challenge-y life, especially during the tumultuous, ugly parts. I love how reassuring that is right now. Baba Nam Kevalam – “Love is all there is.” In other words: Hallelujah.