We all have those moments of big first: A first kiss, a first love, a first heartbreak.
And we all have experiences of big feat and achievement.
Whether it be graduation from school, obtaining a job, or completing a 30 day yoga challenge. These are often the types of things that we speak about and the things that we share with those around us.
But there are also these much smaller, yet very important feats, ones that may even slide under our own radar, and often go unspoken.
Like getting out of bed when just that feels impossible, showing compassion when we would usually be judgmental, or engaging in a positive inner dialogue during a rather challenging time in our lives.
For me, today was one of those days that may outwardly look like the smallest of feats, but internally it felt like reaching the peak of a steep, steep mountain.
I felt strong. I felt at peace. And I felt free.
Last night a relationship I was in came to an end. The feelings are there, the connection is there, and the ease is there. But at this time in our lives, the physical distance between us and the unknown of when we’ll be able to see each other again was just too much.
The decision was mutual, but still sad. It felt right and wrong all at the same time.
As the conversation transpired I could feel these walls and boundaries being built around each of us. Being built up between us.
And after a terrible sleep of tossing and turning, I awoke to what felt like an emotional hangover: a foggy mind and a heavy heart.
My first thought when I awoke was to grab a coffee and have one of those extremely productive days. In the past when situations that invoked sadness, anger, frustration or heartbreak have come about, my tendency was to distract myself. My go-to is my work, I’ll become hyper productive and do what I would usually do in a week, in a single day.
Or I’ll organize and re organize my physical space, pick up an online course, a hobby or plan an adventure.
Of course my feelings always catch up with me and I deal with them eventually. And it’s rather exhausting to always be running, distracting or hiding our feelings from our own self.
But that’s what was different about today. Today was one of those subtle yet powerful life-changing feats.
As I went about my morning, it was the way in which I went about it that was radically different than how I have maneuvered through sadness in the past.
Instead of doing work, I stayed in bed a little longer than usual, moved slowly, and made my way to a yoga class.
I arrived on my mat, and actually just allowed myself to feel exactly what I was feeling. No distractions, no intention to let go of what just happened the night before, and no intention to just let go of my sadness.
Instead, I just let it be.
I allowed this recent change in dynamic, this situation, to be exactly at is it.
No what ifs, buts or whens. No future projections or ruminating over the past.
There was nothing left to do, say, seek or fix.
The situation didn’t feel good or bad or right or wrong.
It just was.
As we linked each movement with breath, it was near the end of the class when we arrived in a strong standing pose. I closed my eyes and it felt like I was standing alone upon a mountain top: steady in my stance, heart towards the sky, wind blowing through my hair and airing out my tender heart.
My mind was quiet, my heart felt soft, and my soul, to my surprise, felt so at peace.
It was the first time I experienced the qualities of sadness and such sweetness simultaneously.
The moment we stop fighting what is, when we stop trying to fix each other or ourselves.
The moment when we stop going over the past and projecting what could’ve been into the future… there’s an undeniable wave of ease that reverberates throughout the entire body.
The mind slows, the tension in the physical body dissipates and the breath moves with a calm fluidity.
And because nothing in this life is static, as all relationships, situations and dynamics are constantly evolving. I think a more appropriate practice to be able to maneuver through this continuously changing life with more grace and ease, is not to let it go, but to let it be.
When we allow everything to be exactly as it is, our selves included, there’s a shift and an opening to a place of nonverbal communication with something greater than ourselves.
There’s a slowing, a refinement of clarity, a steadiness in the gaze, and an almost palpable connection to the underlying pulse of this life experience.
It’s beyond words, it’s beyond speech and it can only be felt when we get quiet, and allow everything to be exactly as it is in this very moment.
So today, for me, this was a first. To not stall in the distraction phase when I’m sad and just allow myself to feel how I feel, and feel it all.
Time and time again, we hear people say just let it go.
But I invite you, I invite me, I invite each and every one of us to experiment in letting it all be (and see what inner shifts may happen as a result). Even just for this day, this hour, or perhaps just this very moment.
Because even in sadness, heartbreak, frustration and anger…there’s a softness and peacefulness embedded deep within when we just lean into what is.
At any time, in any place, we can tap into that reservoir of subtle communication, when we just let everything be.
And to remember to acknowledge and applaud ourselves for our seemingly small feats, those internal shifts and recalibrations.
Life truly is a series of little moments—delectable, often unexplainable, internal moments like these.
Author: Alexa Torontow
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo used with permission from Alex Williamson