By Mary Boutieller
We can challenge ourselves to reach out even when it’s uncomfortable.
The autumn season is upon us and cooler weather brushes up against the still warm days. For me, the last couple of weeks have been quiet ones as I continue to contemplate all that is going on in our world.
When we sit with discomfort, when we move toward instead of away from unease, it gives us a chance to dig down through the multiple layers of our lives. When we linger in the muck of uncertainty and allow it to marinate for just a little while, we start to sense that there may be more to it than meets the eye.
The idea of neither attaching to nor pushing away, but instead observing, is deeply rooted in yoga teachings, yet sometimes hard to practice in our daily lives. It is certainly easier to “push away”, yet we all know when something isn’t settled, isn’t resolved. It’s like a pesky gnat that just won’t go away. We may put it aside, knowing that we aren’t getting anywhere, and that’s okay. Sometimes our growth needs space to come fully to the surface.
Yet when we revisit these challenges, we might pry open the cracks in our deep-set minds to see if there is any wiggle room. Are our thoughts about the world holding up to scrutiny? Is there another way? Of course, there is no quick answer. There is no black or white, right or wrong, my way or the highway…not if we are to live in the world with others.
James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” As tempting as it is to bury our heads in the sand and wait until it’s all over, it’s never really completely over as long as we are alive. The layers go deeper. There will be events that have us questioning the purpose or sanity of it all. Observing, feeling, waiting, keeping perspective—all of these tools help me remember that maybe I don’t have all the information—maybe there is more out there for me to understand.
When things seem out of sort, I often look for inspiration from those wiser than me. Author Maria Popova said, “And so: when some cataclysm in the slipstream capsizes the raft, shatters it, leaves us gasping amid the flotsam, ejected from the familiar flow of time—do we sink or sing?”
Recently, I read a beautiful story about a man named Shawn Dromgoole who reached out on social media to share that he had become afraid to walk in his own neighborhood. As he shared how he felt, neighbors near and far came out and walked with him—a show of solidarity and community that exhibits the best in us. The story is here: https://tanksgoodnews.com/2020/06/19/neighbors-black-man-walk/
This story is about a community who chose to sing instead of sink. It’s about a person who sat with his pain long enough and decided to reach out. It’s about how we can respond as people, as a community, as humanity, when we decide that the big picture is more important that the little one, and it’s a reminder that my small-minded grievances must be tempered by what is truly possible.
Terry Tempest Williams said, “I have inherited a belief in community, the promise that a gathering of the spirit can both create and change culture.”
We have the ability to make a difference—each in our own way. We can challenge ourselves to reach out even when it’s uncomfortable. We can get involved, have respectful conversations, find compassion and empathy in all things, and understand that maybe we just don’t quite see the bigger picture.
Open eyes, open heart, open mind, open door. It is possible!
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.