One step back to take two steps forward. This common saying turns out to be true. That our progress actually requires us to first regress. We all know the phrase but each time it’s confirmed in my own life I find myself somehow surprised, or learning it as if for the first time. I’ve now read books that track child development exactly as the saying goes- children enter a fussy stage before they leap forward. It seems to be confirmed in at least one video on my facebook feed every week- that we must learn to fail in order to succeed, and we just went through another instance of mercury retrograde– the planetary equivalent of the same (or so I’ve come to understand it.)
The one exception may be our methods of locomotion, and I think, since this is literally how we move our bodies through space, this is where a lot of the confusion comes in. That we somehow expect our gait to mirror our growth process– we genuinely expect to go from point A to point B. We have analogies that our journey is far more like a wandering road than a straight line, but while that acknowledges the greater amount of terrain we end up traversing than we tend to plan for, it still implies we are constantly moving forward.
In Anusara Yoga we begin each moment, pose, cycle, process… with a principle we call Open to Grace. What this means, looks like, opens us up to… is such a deep and rich contemplation. Yet by definition, it is a positive happening as it is an initial expansion or recognition that leads to greater inner integrity and outer reach, aka growth on these two vital fronts. To link Open to Grace with one step backwards is pretty easy to do– Open to Grace can be articulated as taking a step back to increase one’s perspective, awareness and appreciation. It can be experienced as the necessary pause that supports the gathering of one’s intentions and energies before moving into action, or even before considering how to move into action. All of these are purposeful and powerfully useful, with perhaps the greatest example– taking the time to meditate before heading to a long, hard day of work.
And yet, as positive as our theorizing can make it out to be, in practicality it remains so hard to accept and harness the bounty of finding ourselves where we feel we have already moved beyond. It’s so hard to not see the step back as wasted time, as time we don’t have, or to see that the backward pace is indeed pivotal to our strong drive forward. It’s hard to feel at ease while watching the distance to our goal seem to move further away. And yet, if this is truly all for our benefit, if it is an Open to Grace expansion that enables transformation, at what point will we come to see our steps back as part of moving forward? When will we stop resisting or even being horrified when we lapse back into old habits or when we digress into old, limited paradigms of thinking? I guess when we can make the connection that in all of that there is Grace, when we practice enough that while we are in what feels like a contraction we have the confidence and discrimination to harness it into the expansion it can be. Bringing back the language used in early development: how to see within our fussy periods the potential, and if we flow with Grace, inevitable, magical leap forward!
This Fall I launch two programs that will focus on Open to Grace- a 100 hour Immersion and a Fall Retreat.
I have a scholarship opportunity available for the Immersion, email me ASAP if financials are keeping you from joining!
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