The Art of Being Vulnerable
by Candace Gordijn September 12, 2013
I hear people say, "That's me, I just need to be in control."
It makes me wonder about that phrase, "In control." It's like air. I mean, of course I need to be in control. What else would I be? "Out of control?" The words have little meaning to me.
Some years ago I was asked to leave my comfy corporate life, as my services were no longer needed. I had my life mapped out. Small children, a nice new home, a great husband, a career. This wasn't the deal I signed up for. Like a boat in a storm, and taking on water fast, I scurried to get back 'in control.'
You do your best to control reality, to make your life function smoothly and efficiently. It seems life has an endless flow of crises to create suffering. I didn't know it at the time. Not even a little bit. But, Yoga was going to save me in more ways than I knew existed.
I met my personal control freak when I couldn't find another job, and decided to 'just do this fitness thing until I get back on my feet." Little did I know I was dancing that dance of riding the unpredictable. Little did I know that I was really, really good at forcing things to happen my way so I wouldn't have to face my fears. Life had a different plan.
It's taken me the study and practice of Yoga to see that my personal power had been threatened long ago. Not by a company that promised me a career, or happiness or anything else. No, much longer ago, when I was creating my ego as a teenager. My personal power never had a chance back then.
The problem is, my inner control freak is a tyrant. You see, I have to do what it says. And here I am all over again, the powerless teenager doing the bidding of some faceless emotion.
It turns out, Yogic traditions are methodologies for entering a subtle internal zone to dance the balance between taking control and letting go.
"Yoga is controlling the movements of the mind," says Patanjali in the classical text of Yoga.
So, each time I allow myself to flow 'in' and 'out' of control, I get closer to an innate place of balance, trusting my body to take on challenges and my mind to weave through the wreckage of today's perceived disaster.
Just when I thought I'd flunked the test, that my personal power wasn't good enough to weather today's storm, I came out realizing that maybe I did ok after all. I survived. I teach Yoga. I practice Yoga. I get to practice falling down, and getting back up over and over again. And, I realized that that's what happened in my career. I fell down. That's ok. I'm not staying down.
““Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
— B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga Guru
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