Friday, November 11, 2016

Stay on the mat

Recently I finished reading "Love Warrior," a memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton. In it, she shared personal and relational struggles and the tough work of becoming whole. She wrote with such refreshing transparency. I feel like we could be friends. She shared how healing yoga was for her during a crisis period in her marriage. One day, however, she wandered into a 90 minute hot yoga class by mistake. She had almost made her exit when the instructor greeted her. Now, she was stuck. As everyone went around the room stating their intentions for the practice, you know, stuff like, "I want to be one with myself," or "I want to illuminate love and light," etc., she had something else in mind. When the teacher asked her what she hoped to gain, she kept it 100: "I'm just going to try to get through whatever is about to happen, stay on the mat, and not run out of here." Yep. Totally my kind of woman.

Throughout the rest of her yoga session as well as the book she kept returning to that metaphor. Stay on the mat. It came to mean doing the hard work and not squirming out of it. It meant staying present when tough feelings emerged. It meant remaining grounded in a difficult conversation or emotional moment, rather than checking out, shutting down, or hiding behind your walls. I simultaneously love and hate everything about that. I know intuitively that it's necessary for a healthy relationship with ourselves and others. It's also incredibly uncomfortable and even painful.

I'm reminded of that during this love season. It's all fun and games until it hurts, until there's misunderstanding to sort through, until there's conflict. But when reactions get visceral and things get real in your relationships, vow to stay on the mat. Try it with me today. I know it's going to be hard, but all you really have to do is breathe, stay present, and stay open.

When someone you respect reveals a deeply held belief that opposes yours, stay on the mat. When everything in you wants to rage, wail, or numb your emotions altogether, stay on the mat. When you feel hurt, misunderstood, and invalidated, stay on the mat. When you're starting to feel happy and you're struggling to trust it, stay on the mat. Stay present. Stay open. Stay loving. Most of all, stay connected- to your feelings and to others. Next time it gets heated and feels hard, remember this. You are a warrior and you can endure. Don't punk out. Stay on the mat.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. All of this is perfect and true. Taking a deep breath now.