“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” -Barbara De Angelis
In Yoga there is a meditation where the instructor asks the student to go into the emotional body and attempt to identify any feeling or emotion that could be associated with a word (for example “anger”) and to sit with it as if you were at lunch with your best friend. Ask the anger what it needs and gently and kindly ask it if it is any more use to you. After you sit with this emotion for a while, the instructor then asks for the student to think of that emotion’s opposite (for example: happiness or joy). What would it feel like if you also invited “happiness” to sit at the lunch table with you, so-to-speak. The student is then asked to sit with this feeling of knowing opposites.
Opposites exist literally in every part of the universe from the seasons (Summer/Winter, Spring/Fall), to age (young/old) to the food we eat (sweet/salty), to every story ever written (good vs. evil). There is a Yin/Yang balance to the world that has kept us pushing forward since the beginning of time. We can never know the good without also knowing the bad. For a lot of us we might feel very energetic and focused in the morning and then very tired by the evening. An emotion is always present inside the body and mind whether we identify it or not. It usually stays until a new one arises. You might be listening to music in your car very calmly and then all of a sudden another car cuts you off and you become upset. We know this without ever really acknowledging it. But sometimes there is a funny thing that happens. Change is always occurring around us and in these moments of change we can sometimes see opposites occurring together.
Think of a time when you were going through a major life change.
Maybe moving out of your parents’ home to go to college, or getting married, or starting a new job. How did you feel in these moments? The transitions in life happen naturally but very chaotic as well. So how do we know how to react? There is uncertainty of the future but also excitement for the unknown. There is certainly a dance happening between two forces, testing us on how we handle growth. It could just be me, but I think these forces have a lot of teaching to offer us. Will we stay comfortable? Will we face a challenge head on? Will we live in fear or overcome it for the prize on the other side?
As it turns out, I am in one of these long heavy dances right now.
I am a very willful and determined person because of the forces that have already occurred in my life. Yet here I sit, typing and vulnerable to the future. My current status has me leaving a job to start a business while also going back to school with no fixed or steady income. With a mortgage to pay and lifestyle to keep up the fear is lingering. I could lose everything to risk working for myself while doing what I love and bettering my soul through my passion. The tiny voice in my head is telling me to jump off of the side of the building with the little cardboard wings I built to help me fly with no net down below to catch me. But that little voice, that gut feeling, also tells me that those cardboard wings will one day be made of steel. If I follow my true path I will be a unbreakable force. This is my confidence appearing if you hadn’t figured it out yet. And just when I think I’m ready to take the plunge, the fear emotion pops up. “You need groceries! You need a house!” The dance continues without any real solution in these transitions.
I have learned not to try to choose in these moments of transition.
I simply must let the emotions do their dance until they reach their destination. The are guiding me to a place new and unimaginable and I can only be willing to welcome whatever comes to me. So if you are with me in one of these transitions in life, just remember to ask the chaos, the unknown, and the uncontrollable where their opposites are and maybe you will start to feel coordination throughout all of life’s dances.