In my previous blog post, I described the fact that last Wednesday, I'd completed a project I'd co-run for the last six years, an Ashtanga Yoga program called Mission Ashtanga. I did so in order to create the space needed to be able to spawn new projects. I am trying out the perspective that in order for something new to enter, you have to create space for it. They tell you that when you're dating someone who isn't quite the right fit that it's probably a good idea to let that relationship go, so the right one can enter. Most of us are reluctant to do so because we wonder what it'd be like to be single, again. Will we feel lonely? Who will we go to dinners with, now, or spend our weekends with? Most of us can't imagine what the experience of life would be like if we didn't keep filling it.
This morning, I feel like I am on the other side of that. I'd had so much anticipation about what this moment would feel like. Most of the anticipatory images that ran through my mind were pretty dark over the last few months. Mainly they consisted of groundless feelings, the sense that all of my passion, creativity, and skill set would find no new outlets; that my urge for change would land me in a morass of deep grief; or, even worse, that I would have discovered that those urges were the result of some temporary delusion, some early hint of an impending mid-life crisis. It's amazing how paralyzing my "future f*cker" voices can be. On the other side of having made the leap, this morning, I don't feel any of the ways that I'd anticipated feeling. What do I feel? Two things:
Fragile and Hopeful
I'd be lying to myself if I didn't admit that this move out of something that's given me a kind of daily structure and, more importantly, an identity for the last six years of my life doesn't feel vulnerable. Who am I if I am not co-running this project? Once again, I can feel this propensity to want to find my identity, my sense of self in the things that I do. This is what the source text of yoga, The Yoga Sutras, calls avidya, which is loosely translated as a form of misapprehension or delusion. It is looking for a sense of self in things that are transitory. Letting go like this has me recognizing how safe it feels to have a work-based identity but, ultimately, how tenuous that identity is. As soon as the title is gone, it can feel a little like having pulled off a scab, a little raw and vulnerable.
At the same time, I have this overarching sense of possibility. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have this very morning to myself, to think, to write, and to create. I am no longer bound by the routines of my previous work. It's not that I won't be practicing yoga this morning or maintaining a quality of discipline, but that I can choose, instead, to write before practicing. It feels almost luxurious to have this very moment to form words that frame my experience, to not be bound by the have-to's and can'ts that came with co-running Mission Ashtanga: "have-to be in bed by 9PM in order to wake at 4:30;" "can't go on vacation too much;" etc. In removing the stricture of the structure, I can feel this deep, deep appreciation for the choice I made to let go. I can feel space, again. The juxtaposition of the way I felt to the way I feel, now, is pretty dramatic. I feel like I got the "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" card.
The Love You Take Is Equal to the Love You Make
What I will eventually be doing with that card isn't altogether clear. I'd previously wished that I had clear plans before I left. That way I could just end one thing and pick up another. But I can't help but feel how important it is not to do that, not to just fill or stay in motion. I can feel this strong urge to revel in the stillness of completion; to appreciate the bounty that Mission Ashtanga provided for me; and to feel the relief that comes now that an ending has occurred. This moment reminds me of the lyrics of a song I love on The Beatles' Abbey Road Album, "And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make." It feels like this is the moment to slow down enough to take in the creation, to breathe it in. To run would be to miss this.