Finding wisdom in the difficult moments can be challenging—especially when we are staring those moments square in the face.
Sending your child off to kindergarten, being betrayed by a “friend,” and making a painful decision about a pet—they all can hurt. There is no escaping it: My heart is bruised, my trust shaken, but my resolve is strong. Lessons are learned, examples are made, and the world continues to revolve—irritating but true.
The last two months have provided a clear space for me to inspect my core values and moral foundation. I certainly didn’t want this particular inspection but apparently, the universe felt it was necessary. Being sober, taking and teaching yoga classes, and embracing the eight limbs didn’t shield me from these difficult moments, but they have proven to be a solid foundation to surviving them.
“Surrender is the journey from the outer turmoil to the inner peace.” – Sri Chinmoy
Here are eight takeaways that may help you the next time the universe invites you to inspect your own foundation. (Hint: it will at some point, so you may want to save this.)
1. Listen to the voice that doesn’t speak.
If something seems fishy, don’t ignore that sense. This is your intuition, your inner guide. Notice if your inclination is to ignore it. If it is, check your motivation. I can assure you that whatever “payoff” you think you may get is far less than the disappointment and consequence that will eventually result.
2. Speak your truth.
It may not be popular, but do it anyway. You may lose friends but, if so, were they really your friends to begin with? It will be difficult. It will be sad. It will be disappointing. But you will survive and you will gain stronger bonds.
3. Stand your sacred ground.
Don’t be bullied. Yes: even adults bully. And by the time they are adults, they may be really good at it. See them for who they are. They got to be that bully because they never resolved their own pain. That fact may not make the sting of what is being said less hurtful but, rest assured, they are in far worse pain, and one they cannot escape.
4. Focus on “you doing you.”
You have a purpose. Use your energy “doing you” rather than continuing to focus on the hurt. This isn’t possible all the time, and this isn’t about checking out from the pain of the loss or hurt or betrayal. But in order to get healing, the focus needs to shift. Do it slowly and incrementally. It’s not possible to just flip a switch.
5. Be of service.
I love this action: Do something for someone else without them knowing. Call a friend to ask how they are. If the conversation shifts to you, shift it back to them. This is not only healing for them but for you, too. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Clean out your closet and donate the clothing. Go to Goodwill and buy five dog beds to take to the shelter. Get out of self.
6. Practice yoga.
Be gentle with yourself. Breathe. Do five or 10 of your favorite postures, go to a style of class that you have never experienced. Take a free, online class. Many teachers have online 10 minute de-stress classes. You have 10 minutes.
7. Practice meditation.
Do it in your car. Do it at your cubicle. Do it on a walk. It doesn’t have to be two hours in a monastery. Take two minutes to just be aware that you are breathing: Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
8. Embrace self-care.
Life is busy. Hurt, betrayal, and loss don’t wait until you have nothing else happening. Take moments for yourself. Sometimes just acknowledging that you are going to take 10 minutes for yourself—to grab a seltzer water and pretzels and hide in the back of the closet—is enough.
Life is in session! Pay attention to your inner guide. Make as many mindful decisions as possible. Recognize that you are fallible and that “failures” are great teachers and open doors that you had no idea even existed. View surrender through a different lens: It isn’t giving up. It isn’t giving in. It is the simple recognition that you are no longer going to resist the truth.
This article was originally posted on Yoganonymous.