If I could do away with anything in the human experience, I’d start with the idea that there needs to be a beginning, middle and end.
Starting from a very young age, our lives revolve around this finite idea of time. Each year of our young lives is wrapped up in a school grade. Chapters make up books. We assign faux deadlines to our never-quite-realized goals.
- Beginning: When we have too many false starts, or we’re addicted to starting, we feel like failures for never following through.
- Middle: The uncomfortable limbo that makes us wonder when it will end, yet forget why it ever began.
- End: And of course, if we don’t get “closure” from a broken relationship, we bury the burden inside our body, where the pain never truly heals until we dig it back up.
Even this article you’re reading is plagued with a beginning, middle and end — a formula we’ve all been taught in school.
Turns out, I’m not so great at this storytelling cycle.
In college, I wrote a personal essay for a journalism class that was the oddest essay of the whole bunch. We were supposed to carry a theme throughout that was made evident to the reader at the very end.
After I read it aloud, people were nodding their heads, but I could tell they didn’t understand my point. The teacher, I think feeling sorry for me and recognizing my potential to conform, was nice enough about it, so I got a good grade.
But the truth was, I liked my essay with its untidy themes and read-between-the-lines meaning. I wrote about my time spent studying abroad in Mérida, México, where cinderblock walls are capped with broken Coca-Cola bottles. I called the story “Mexican Barbed Wire.”
I “wondered who was keeping out whom” in the essay, in terms of language barriers and being a tall, brown-haired girl in a foreign country. I also agonized for days over whether that was the correct use of who and whom.
I was more interested in my own personal journey to worry about others understanding it. When it comes to this, how different am I from you?
Many of us do worry about what others think of us, to the detriment of our true selves. We make compromises that don’t feel good in our hearts. Or, we try to please others because we do feel good when others are happy.
We are sensation junkies, constantly putting ourselves out into the universe and waiting, hoping, wishing for the desired response.
This week, I stumbled across this rotting fruit time lapse video (because clearly my new year has been eventful) and after about thirty seconds, I though, “Ew, I would never eat that!”
Thirty seconds more and the grapes dried into raisins. They are familiar looking and I have eaten raisins before, so my brain decided, “Sure, I’d eat that.”
Why is it okay as a grape and okay as a raisin, but the stage in between is repulsive? Is it not the same fruit?
Sometimes our experiences cannot be wrapped up into a clear beginning, middle and end.
Savasana marks the traditional end of a yoga class, but it is the beginning of peering into your inner world. And every other pose in between is just a lead up to your inner guidance.
Life is most full of ease when we are not waiting to begin or end.
Like a grape turning into a raisin, your continual transformation might not be recognizable at first, but it is still you. When you realize this, you become present.
What I am trying to summarize is this: You don’t need closure in order to start over. You just need to decide to live.
Perhaps your closure is your choice to begin — over and over — so that there is no
Try it: Seated Side Bend
Take a moment to open up to presence with simple Seated Side Bend. Then, try my 10-minute “Ease Into Your Heart” video practice and make your intention to listen to your inner guidance.
- Begin in Easy Pose, Sukhasana, with the shins crossed in the middle. Root down evenly into both sit bones and sit tall, hands on knees. Soften the navel in and broaden the upper chest.
- Place the right palm flat on the mat beside you, about a foot away from your hip. Inhale the left arm up and exhale, bend into the right elbow to lean to the side. Keep both of your side bodies long by continuing to lift through the sternum. At the same time, soften the tops of the shoulders down the back.
- Root down through the left hip and relax your knees and the back of the neck. Smoothly breathe in and out, lengthening the torso on the inhales and deepending on the exhales. Stay for six rounds of breath.
- Press into the right palm and inhale back to center. Release the hands to your sides, or the knees, and observe the openness in the chest before moving on to the other side.