The most important lesson I have learned this past year is that our “plans” don’t mean much. As soon as you feel comfortable, start planning your days, weeks, and months down to every minute the universe will surely laugh and shout, “Oh you thought!”
This past year has been one of exponential growth in all aspects of life. I graduated college a year earlier than expected, landed two internships, found climbing, loved and lost, and completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. The past couple months have been packed. Items on my to-do list filling up every hour, every minute, every second. I was scheduling when was the optimal time to shower, eat, and never forgetting my “free time.”
These lists became a very accurate illustration of what my brain looked like from one week to the next. Scribbles, arrows, layers of white out. The funny thing about the lists I make in my handy-dandy notebook, which by the way is covered with dachshunds in sweaters (incredibly professional), is that more often than not I don’t do anything in the order I write let alone do it on the day I plan to do so. I found myself, and still do; measuring my days by the amount of things I could get done. Every yogi bone in my body whispered to me that this was toxic.
As soon as I realized summer was coming to a close and autumn is quickly approaching, I was filled with excitement, motivation, and ambition. I was ready to start a new degree program, work two amazing jobs, and teach all the yoga I could. All the while looking to climb more, start a new weight-training program, run often, and dive deeper into my physical yoga practice. Oh, and meditate every day. I was told more than once that this was unattainable and unsustainable, but I thought it was completely doable and the “naysayers” just weren’t dreaming big enough. The key phrase here being, “I thought.”
A couple Fridays ago, I was climbing in between teaching classes when I fell from the top of a route and shattered my ankle. I knew this was the universe saying, “Katy, stop trying to do all the things.” Yet, when I sat in the Emergency Room I spoke of how I can still do all the things like workout, go to school, teach, and practice yoga with a broken ankle. I tried to approach the situation with a lightness and optimism repeating to myself that although this isn’t the most ideal situation, everything would be okay. I am okay, everything is okay. Until it wasn’t.
I found out that the only way to heal the break would be surgery as soon as possible. A couple screws, a plate, maybe a bone graph, and many weeks of crutches and physical therapy would be what it would take to be good as new. All I could say to myself, to my mom, to everyone I relayed the news to was, “I am okay, everything is okay.” I have done this before, I can do it again, but something is immensely different this time around. I have a tool in my toolbox I didn’t have a few years ago when I had ankle surgery, yoga. Yoga is what I find solace is when life gets sticky. My yoga practice has always been deeply rooted in asana, the physical practice. Moving, sweating, breathing on my mat is where I drop-in, I let go, I work through this funny thing called life.
During this time where I may not be able to do all the things I want to do or move how I want to move, I find yoga. I find yoga in letting myself cry the big alligator tears and being kind to myself. I find yoga through my actions and through the actions of those around me. I find yoga in the words I speak, write, and share. My practice will not be the same as it was last month, nor will it be the same six months from now, or in a year. My practice might not be sweating and moving on my mat, it may be as simple as closing my eyes and feeling my breath. My practice may be observing my inner monologue and allowing myself to not be okay, no matter how many times I say I am.
Yoga has enabled me to ride the waves of life, rather than to drown in them. It has enabled me to acknowledge darkness, but not let it consume me. Yoga has showed me that the universe will speak to you at a whisper, but is not afraid of shouting at you until you listen. It has given me a community that never lacks in light, love, and support and I am forever grateful for that. I know the coming months will be trying. There will be moments of darkness, but not without moments of light. There will be moments of frustration, but not without moments of ease.
When the universe decides to throw an obstacle in our path, we can look to yoga. Not necessarily to remove it as it is usually teaching us something profound, but to work through it, around it, over it, or even under it. It may look different each time, but that is the beauty of yoga. It is a practice that is constantly evolving, growing, and changing with us.
Much love and light,