Are we ever ready?

It’s approximately 17 hours before I embark on another yoga teacher training. This time, I’m taking the plunge into Baptiste Power Yoga, a style I fell in love with years ago for its ability to transform my body and my life.

And although I’ve done the required reading, bought my blank notebook, planned my meals, and practiced as regularly as I could to prepare, I still feel a tinge of not-readiness. I could have laid off the wine and pasta in cheese sauce. I could have done a few more classes. I could have made notes while I was reading. I definitely didn’t eat enough greens or drink enough kombucha. No, no. I should just call this whole thing off. Who am I kidding?

But then my mentor, friend, and teacher Pam posts something to the closed Facebook group:

I sure hope so.

I am ready now. Deep breaths.

I believe that we don’t do a lot of things we could because we are afraid of not being ready. Afraid of screwing it up. Afraid of looking bad. We don’t quit the job that doesn’t fulfill us, we don’t start that new relationship, we don’t get on the plane because we feel like we forgot something or that we haven’t made the necessary preparations to accompany us on the journey. We are afraid of leaving the familiar because although it might not be our dream life, it’s working for us. It isn’t new and scary. We haven’t died (yet). We are living day to day with our basic needs met and sometimes that’s attractive enough for us to stay. And…is that really working for us?

Yoga teaches us that where we stand now, in this present moment, is our path. There is no other place to be, and nothing else to do. If we are here, we are here because we are meant to be. Because we are ready. We are strong enough, smart enough, financially capable enough, and emotionally developed enough for the task at hand.

The very first Sutra of Patanjali states:

1.1 Atha yoga anushasanam

Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of yoga begins.

So, to break it down a little more, where we stand “now” (atha, pronounced “attah”, implying a blessing at this moment of transition) we join with the teachings of yoga, which are meant to be an unraveling of layers and imperfections concealing truth of who we are. And if that’s the case, then how could we prepare any more for what’s already contained within us, waiting to be revealed? It’s like trying to pack for a trip to our own house. We already have everything. It’s simply a return home.

And this theory applies not only to our yoga practice, but also holds true to our lives off the mat as well. Having recently come out of a long-term relationship, I felt like it would only be appropriate to spend some time by myself, writing sad poetry, watching sad movies about lost love, and quarantining my broken, toxic heart until some defect in it had been repaired. I felt I needed some kind of punishment for causing pain in myself and in my ex-partner. I needed to sit in the corner and have a time-out. I told myself I wasn’t ready to move on. I needed to be sad for an undetermined amount of time (probably for the remainder of this lifetime and maybe even into the next), to atone for the mistakes I made, to wallow in my aloneness and grief, to carry some kind of torch for this failed romance, and to metaphorically wear black and avoid bathing like the Romans did when they were grieving. In other words, I need to be a boring, smelly, anti-social, crying mess. How dare I think I could have fun, or meet new people, or FLIRT!? Heaven forbid!

And in reality, Heaven would want me to see the truth of who I am: perfect in my wounds and struggles, in my pain and grief, and 100% ready to be happy. Ready to return back to the effortless flow, the joy, the love and passion that I’d craved for so long, even when I was with my partner. I don’t need to punish myself. There is no wrong-doing to amend. And although there is a sweetness in allowing old wounds to close completely so that new relationships don’t poke at them, that doesn’t mean that I can’t allow my heart to come out and play. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the things that are right in front of me, right here, right now. On the contrary, perhaps they have appeared because I am, in fact, ready for them.

“Atha Yoga anushasanam”. I am ready. For this training, for this healing, for this journey home, for this return to love.
Carol 🙂



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