(I ended up on this tangent on impermanence while finally finishing my newsletter as I got some reminders lately, both personally and as a teacher. I did not find it appropriate to include right now, however, thought I would still share as someone may benefit.)
Life and most everything we associate with our lives is impermanent. Everything ends, and this truth can be hard to accept. And at any given moment we can be both on the receiving and giving end of this fact. I can say with the benefit of time and space, that I have been blessed to experience the receiving end of this hard reality with injuries, lay-offs, ailments and deaths of loved-ones, and with divorce. Had I been practicing yoga during some of these initial experiences, maybe I could have made peace quicker with these end-of-my-world experiences (death to my life as I knew it).
Practice gives us direct experience with making peace with the inevitable. The breath comes and goes, thoughts and emotions come and go. The fact that all things “good” and “bad” things come to an end, may be the only thing that gets us through the most trying times/the end of our worlds.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.” — Reinhold Niebuhr
The Serenity Prayer above, which I recently shared as a reading in class and post, serves as a useful mantra during trying times to help resolve the citta vrittis (agitations of the mind). It serves as a reminder of the limited yet powerful abilities we have to surrender, accept get present and then take skillfull/mindful action. We cannot control a lot of things around us, only the thoughts we have and actions we take. The observance of the Niyama Isvara Pranidana, surrendering to God (or any other Divinity or higher power or greater good) and taking action that is in service of, takes out ego and any subsequent attachments to outcomes.
I know personally, my heartstrings are pulled easily by the suffering of others, so I may not escape sadness, but I have been able to continue to function through some trying moments. Being of service as a teacher and previously in non-profit helped me stay present and serve, even during some really challenging times, even when I did not think I could. I am truly grateful for the ability to do this, to continue to be of service and teach — so THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
(I also want to give a shout out to the focus@will App. I just heard of it earlier this week through Netted and this deadline driven procrastinator figured he would give this science based tool a try and I had some productive sessions and even wrote more than fit in my newsletter!)