One of my very favourite yoga concepts is the idea of sitting with things. When you’re holding a yoga pose that is challenging or annoying or otherwise uncomfortable, yoga asks you to just stay with it, to be there with those irritating feelings. It doesn’t tell you to try to fix or change the situation in any way, and it doesn’t offer you any tips for avoiding that discomfort. It just says: Can you be here with this right now? Can you feel this irritation and not react to it?
Obviously, this idea is helpful beyond the yoga mat.
This is a pretty counter-intuitive idea for me, the idea of tolerating things I don’t like or that don’t feel good. I think that for a lot of us, it’s very, very difficult to avoid the temptation to do something about the things that bother us or stress us out. And yes, often we’re right to take action – if our problems can be solved by sending that one email or changing our shoes, then of course we absolutely should. Except that I think by always doing something every time we face an annoyance or issue, we’re out of practice for those times when there is nothing that can immediately be done.
Right now, I’m 5 weeks out from leaving Korea. I have a to-do list full of logistics to sort out, things to buy, and details to arrange. I’m making progress, slowly but surely chipping away at my list, but a bunch of my tasks have to wait until I know more or when it’s closer to my departure. I hate that. I want to check off everything, right now, clear my plate and get my ducks in a row. I constantly feel like I should be doing more and preparing more and getting things lined up before I start traveling.
Today, I realized that what I really need to do is sit with this. I don’t need to try to eliminate the (inevitable) feelings of stress by running around putting out fires and trying to get things done before their time. I don’t need to hassle people for answers or worry myself about whether or not I need certain documents. I just need to sit here, acknowledge that it’s sometimes overwhelming, and give myself permission to not do anything about it for now. Recognize that I’ve always gotten everything done before and will again, in time. Let things proceed at the pace they’re meant to. I just need to breathe, sit with it, feel the feelings, and try to let them go.