My car broke down on Saturday afternoon, on a hill, on a corner. Thankfully it was a one-way road, there are small mercies. We got it going again only for it to break down a little further along the road, by Waitrose, on a busy Saturday afternoon, where's the luck. It wads quite an experience actually, because I wanted to be anywhere but where I was. The pregnancy hormones don't help of course and I could feel the anger and frustration moving in. Thankfully E took control of the situation and while we had to spend an hour in Iceland carpark (another novel experience), before we knew it the car was whisked away by AA and we were left to walk home on foot. The funny thing is, I had only just washed my car a matter of hours earlier.
Anyhow the whole experience has been quite a blessing. No car means no rushing around and means learning to accept the kindness of others and ask for help in getting around when necessary. Funnily enough two lessons I have been struggling to learn the last few months, but which will no doubt set me up perfectly for the months ahead when the bean arrives and I find that I can no longer rush around, nor do it all on my own. Funny how the Universe works!
I do find that it is rather marvellous really, how the Universe does encourage us to learn. Look at Kerry Katona, bankrupt for a second time. I read an article with her recently where she said we need to learn from our mistakes of the past and move forward into the future. I wonder if she has now learned her lesson or whether she will be declared bankrupt for a third time in the future. Not that I am judging, only that it seems obvious to me how the Universe does indeed create the situations for us to learn from old mistakes, and if we keep making the same mistakes, it will keep providing us with the opportunity to learn again, be that in our relationships, our careers or our lifestyle choices.
Essentially it is all about breaking the patterns. And sometimes the patterns are very deeply ingrained. You can think of them like grooves, the more you keep repeating the same movement, the deeper and more ingrained the groove will become. Changing the pattern is the tricky bit, because more often than not the pattern is deeply ingrained in the mind. And the mind is a tricky thing, very powerful.
That is one of the reasons I have always found Yoga so enlightening and helpful. Not only does it awaken us to the grooves in our life, but it helps us to reprogram so that we, essentially, make different choices and create more positive grooves than support us rather than hinder us. After all, we all want to be happy and yet more often than not we, yes us, we are the cause of our own unhappiness. if someone else talked to us the way we talk to ourselves, well they probably wouldn't be our friends. All that judging, about the way we look, about our ability to do this or do that, and all the fears we create too, let alone the limitations, who needs an enemy when we are more often than not the biggest enemy we will ever meet.
We looked at this a little last night during class, about the concept of "ahimsa", the first of the yamas, the ethical principles of Yoga as set out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra. Ahimsa means non-harming to self and others. More often than not we will consider the non-harming to others aspect of this yama, in terms of our relationship with others, without also considering the non-harming aspect to ourselves. This is the very ground of the practice, the foundation from which all other choices evolve. How enlightening, and yet how scary to let go of any effort to harm the self...
As Cyndi Lee says, "Letting ahimsa be your guide means, at the very least, don't be a nuisance. We often think of ourselves as nuisances to ourselves, but if we take a closer look we might see how we get in the way of our own happiness, how we create our own suffering, through habitual pulling and pushing. This tendency to engage in personal tugs-of-war shows up frequently in seated poses, especially forward bends and hip openers". For those of you at class last night, or those of you who practice forward bends and hip openers in your own practice then this probably rings true. These poses can often take you to the heart of the matter - it is often said that the hips contain our ability to manifest the expression of our heart throughout the world.
So I am without a car, which can only be good for my hips as I have to walk quite a bit instead! This is a joy in itself, okay so the rain is not ideal, well not when you have to walk into work, but it is a lovely opportunity to embrace the seasonal change, the leaves turning brown and falling from the trees, the hedgerows of ripening blackberries, the changing skies with those wonderful autumnal clouds, that smell, ah yes times they are a changing. In fact we have a full moon this Thursday and the autumnal equinox on Saturday, where we experience an equal balance of night and day.
So let the change flow, tap into the grooves, see what isn't working ad let it go, you can do this through your Yoga practice, by practicing those seated and hip opening poses that challenge you, by breathing through them and changing the attitude with which you do so. meditate too, that is so powerful in helping us to recognise the mental conditioning and changing the way we "see" things. Yoga Nidra too, such a powerful tool with the opportunity to establish a Sankalpa and let go. And then of course just getting to a Yoga class, making that step, well that starts to change things in itself.
Happy week everyone.