Yoga has changed a lot about how I interact with the people around me and how I react to situations. It’s very fulfilling to realize I’m not taken off balance in a moment when I might have become fearful or angry in that past. However, there are other times when I find myself to be decidedly un-yogic. Hurricane Irene gave me a week without lights, air-conditioning, internet access or hot water. Living in a town with huge, old, oak trees that loose branches in wind, rain and snow storms; we’ve had plenty of power failures. In the past we’ve been dark for 10 minutes to 2 days. A week is a record.
My immediate reaction when the lights went out was to sit and wait for my world to re-illuminate. Any minute now. Ten minutes later, resignation set in and I followed through on the preparations I’d made: grab the flashlights, light the candles, pretend to read Yoga Journal…..but my real focus was on waiting for the lights to come on. Surprised that the lights were still out when I went to bed, my first cogent thought the next morning was, “I HAVE to have power today.” The next two days became a pregnant pause of tension. A void of waiting, and thinking “I HAVE to get power this morning.” “ I’m sure I’ll get power this afternoon.” “ Pleeeease let me get power tonight.” “It’s not possible that I’d have to take another ice cold shower today.” As each deadline passed without success, I felt my non-yogi nerves fray. Finally, on the third day I stopped resisting. The fact that the power was not coming on in my timeframe, and that I had no control over when it would come on, sunk in and I accepted it. Immediately, the tension melted and I could get on with the details of life without lights and hot water.
It occurred to me after the fact that I had just re-experienced an old lesson. It wasn’t the lack of electricity that had caused me to feel frazzled and frustrated. The tension was the result of my resistance. Every moment spent wishing things were different caused anxiety, discomfort and suffering. When I finally settled in, and accepted the situation, I could move through each day, making whatever adjustments were necessary, and still feel centered. Another opportunity to break-through.