Last week, I was making coffee so that my brain could function for my 5:45 am class, and I had the thought, “I don’t feel right. I can’t do anything until I feel right.”  My mind started to claw and concoct ways to get out of every obligation.  I gazed down at my planner, and my to-do list began to become a list of things I had to get out of.

What is “feeling right?”  Being happy or excited?  I realize it’s probably unreasonable to feel that I need to have this “go get em” attitude every waking moment.  I know I have a tendency to be an all or nothing…do it perfect or don’t try at all…type of person.  It takes a lot of awareness to notice when I’m on autopilot and trying to stuff negativity down.  My emotional librarian steps in at the slightest hint of trouble, and she puts all of those feelings on the shelf for later.  Part of my “life yoga” practice is putting this lady out of a job.  I have to stop, swipe the books from her hands and sit with them.  Read them from cover to cover.

Before pouring coffee, I shut my eyes, placed my palms on my belly, and I stood in the kitchen and breathed.  Oh, it’s just sadness.  I used to think that fear and grief and all those other feelings we label as “negative” were obstacles on the path.  That’s why I needed my inner-librarian.  She could take those feelings away for a time, and I would take them out when I could get around to it.  However, I usually didn’t get around to it, and all of those things stuffed in the closet would topple down on my head.  Sometimes, I’m shuffling my feet early in the morning, and I stumble upon new piles of forgotten moments and feelings stored away for a rainy day.  I realized that all those piles weren’t obstacles on the path.  They were the path.  This was it.  Sitting at 4:45 am over a cup of hot coffee and feeling sad, is right where you are supposed to be if that’s where you are.  You can’t read the Cliff Notes.  You have to be here and let it this story play out.

Your stories pop up at just the right time.  We just tell ourselves that they are inconvenient, irrational, crazy, inappropriate, and time-wasting.  We can try to put them off, but they find us again and again.  Read the story.  Immerse yourself in its twists and turns.  Be curious about how it got there, who wrote it, how it came into being.  You don’t have to put it on the shelf.  You can learn it by heart, understand it, and then you don’t even need that damn shelf or that book anymore.  In a way, we don’t let go of hurt, pain, suffering, or our stories about them.  When we have learned all we can learn from them, they let go of us.