“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde
“Just linger”…..these are words we often hear in yoga class when we are in the middle of a pose or exploring our edge. The word linger has also been showing up a lot for me ever since I read Sheryl Sandberg’s last book, Option B. So when I heard my teacher say it this morning in class, a light bulb went on, and I thought it would make a good topic to write about. My friend Kat and I talked a little about it while we were having breakfast after class (there are great conversations to be had after a good yoga class).
Lingering in a moment – whether it be pleasant, unpleasant, difficult, easy, chaotic, calm, exasperating or enthralling (you get the gist) can be a wonderful teachable moment. We have much to learn from our own awareness and observation when we take a some time to linger in a moment just as it is unfolding. Bearing witness to the thoughts and feelings, the sights and the sounds, the comfortable and uncomfortable holds much wisdom and it’s all free….there for the taking, should we want to venture into unchartered terrain.
The beauty of yoga is that thoughts, feelings and sensations always arise and give us the opportunity to dissect them. At times, things that come up are repressed situations that we buried long ago and are in need of healing and releasing. Other times it may be traumatic emotions stored on a cellular level and one’s we’ve been suppressing – for way too long – that are no longer serving us and causing dis-ease in our physical and emotional bodies. That’s just what lingering in a moment does…..it gives us the space to process the energy, feel, release, let go and surrender. These are all blessings! Just like when you’re in a yoga pose, each part of the process allows us to go deeper, delve into another layer, explore how that feels, dig deeper, yet delve even further through more layers and, ultimately, let go, surrender and feel at ease.
Other moments that I see as blessings are those “inconvenient” moments (which really end up not being inconvenient after all). They include, but are not limited to, being stuck in traffic, taking a wrong turn, thinking you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, a change in plans, asking for something and having it show up (just NOT the way we thought it would). I’m sure you can add to the list. However, for me personally, something wonderful and beautiful always comes of these moments when I choose to “linger” in them. I may experience new sights, a neighborhood I never knew existed or was unfamiliar with, meeting someone I was meant to meet, or seeing someone I haven’t seen in years and it happened because I looked out the car window while stuck in traffic All these little blessings would have escaped me had I not chosen to linger, be aware and be present.
When we linger in the present, we also have the opportunity to breathe, inhale deeply and exhale slowly, and realize that all we have is that precise moment. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “It’s where we have an appointment with life.” The past doesn’t exist nor does the future. We can view them as figments of our imagination. When we take the time to inhale and exhale deeply, we feel grounded. There is deep satisfaction in taking refuge in our grounding breath as we observe, but do not get swept up in, the chaos that is around us. We rise above it as we become more aware of our surroundings and the beauty and magic that is all around. Typically, the anxiety, angst, frustration or inconvenience we were feeling just tends to wash away when we just linger.
We can also linger in the moments that are pleasurable to all our senses. So often, people are just scurrying around, dashing from one place to another, devoid of all awareness and pleasure. We all need to balance all that “do-ing” with “linger-ing.” We can linger in bed instead of making a mad dash out of it, during our morning routine, and our self-care practices. Other ways of lingering: enjoying a movie, spending quality time with a friend, walking / playing with our beloved pet, putting down the phone, stopping the incessant scrolling, disconnecting from electronics, practicing silence, restoring cleanliness and order to our sacred spaces, resting whenever we need it, sipping our tea reverently, luxuriating in the tub, cooking with love and intention, feeling the soil while gardening, sipping delicious wine, reading for pleasure, basking in the warm sun, expressing gratitude, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping or building a nest, watching our cats/dogs and their antics, being mesmerized by a colorful sunrise/sunset, expressing your creativity by painting, drawing, journaling or crafting, making passionate love, kissing tenderly, eating sumptuously, singing in the shower, journeying down a new path….and on and on and on.
Blessings in disguise show up in all ways, at unexpected times and often when we need them the most. The key is to be open and explore them. “Just Linger” might become my phrase for 2018. In addition to having a new word for the year, why not also have a phrase?
Enjoy your lingering, darlings!
Inhale love & light…Exhale grace & gratitude, JTC