There comes a time in our life when we have to admit the thing we love the most might also be causing us some damage. This great love can come in the form of a human or a hobby, a sport or even a set of thoughts we have. My marriage is to yoga and don’t you try to take it away from me because I have carefully fostered my identity around it, Gabrielle Harris/Yogi/Yoga teacher.
We all get little signs that things aren’t well. Maybe it’s a pain in the hip, a niggle of thoughts, a feeling or an argument. These early signs we like to push away and say to ourselves, ‘oh nothing could be wrong, it’s just my imagination, I’ll push through’. So you push through and keep on and then it hits you. No things are not OK with this hip/relationship/attachment.
My injury, although not serious, took this path. A gently niggle and then ten weeks later I realise that the thing I love doing is hurting my body. The deep external rotations over and over again mean my body is not getting time to heal. So what to do?
No-one wants to let go of what they love and desire but the yoga philosophers guide us with how to ease the suffering of detachment;
Firstly we must see that what we love causes problems for us; This is a form of self study. We observe our body’s reaction to what it is we are attached to. We observe how we feel when the thing we can’t have doesn’t want to have us anymore. We watch our storm of emotions, anger, greed, lust, fear arise in us. Svadhyaya.
Secondly we must be kind to ourselves. So we can’t practice yoga or run to the hills today. It’s ok, maybe there is something else you can do? Maybe just resting is the kindest option.. Maybe not calling that person is the best way. Ahimsa.
Thirdly we should practice contentment. What else do you have in your life that is good? Can you be happy with all the other gifts life has given you? Does holding on to the thing that is damaging you causing you happiness or grief? Rather than fixating on the problems, what is right in the situation? Santosha.
Practice for today: When we put down what is harming us we can pick up something new. What we want is also not often what we need the most. Sort out your needs from your wants. Is there something in your life that no longer serves you?