“This is the real work: every part of you that has been exiled, condemned, rejected or walled off needs to be brought close, needs to be brought right into the heart, and allowed to merge into the light of loving awareness.” – Christopher Wallis
“Are you excited about your move?”
I get asked this question frequently since my husband has completed his graduate degree. We decided that we would rather continue his job search back in familiar territory (Arkansas) than stay here in New England. When I get asked, “Are you excited about your move?” I feel a little guilty. I’m probably supposed to say, “Yes.” “Aren’t you excited?” is probably just the new “How are you?” I’m should smile and keep nodding, but I’m guilty of not keeping up my end of the social contract. My responses to this question have ranged from drawn out pauses, blinking, staring out the window, or a long reply of, “Uumm…” I know it’s not easy to hold space for untidy answers to simple, common courtesy questions, and for that, I apologize.
I had no idea how I felt. I just knew that every time I heard the question I felt like someone plopped a boulder on my chest. I think there was some positivity way down in there, but it seemed like a gem in a tiny crevice buried beneath several feet of rubble. I knew it was in there, but I wasn’t sure it was worth the trouble to dig it out. To look for that tiny gem, meant I had to confront the fearful part of me that said, “moving feels scary, so we shouldn’t do it.” I know scary things are worth doing. I know Eleanor Roosevelt wants us to do “that thing which we think we cannot do.” Yet, that emotion was so present and overpowering I felt frozen.
Over the past several, fearful months, my yoga practice changed. It became less about asana and more about meditation, pranayama, and reading (which I’m finding the longer I practice, these cycles seem inevitable if not necessary). In spite of my desire to run from uncomfortable feelings, everything in my being seemed to be pulling me inward.
In this process of going inward around this particular question: the fear and dread were readily available, yet the excitement and hope remained quiet. It’s as if a long time ago, my mind and body decided that fear was a reliable decision-making barometer and excitement and hope were not. I’m was saddened when I thought about how, I’ve continually heard that part of myself and never allowed her to arise, speak, and to bring some levity to this whole situation.
The word yoga is commonly defined as meaning “to yoke” or “union.” For a long time, I believed yoga practice was about creating some sort of union between mind, body, and spirit. The more I practiced, the more I came to see that my mind and body usually ARE on the same page, it’s just me that believes they are opposed to one another. And again, I’m finding that the divisions within myself are even more nuanced. There’s my fearful self who I’ve embraced for a long time. There’s my joyful self who I have locked away. There’s high probability there are multitudes of divisions of my self that I haven’t even met, but this is the division that keeps showing up in the moment.
Every time I am asked, “Are you excited?” I am reminded to bring that part of me in closer and out in the open, in union with all that I am. Eventually my response to that question has begun to change, instead of feeling anxiety when asked, I started feeling warm inside. Every inquiry came with a swell of energy within me. All of those old emotions were still there, but instead of feeling like heavy stones they seemed more like facets of one gem: Brighter some places, dimmer in others yet, beautiful to watch.
I feel grateful people care enough to ask. I feel sad about leaving. I am fearful. I am excited and hopeful. All at once.