The choices one makes and the consequences involved are one of the earliest lessons we humans learn, and we continue to learn through all stages of life. Is there really anyone who has mastered foreseeing the outcomes of both good and bad decisions? Clearly not, because we have ALL screwed up with the false idea that a bad decision might end up being okay. What drives the bad decision is the deeper root of the question. Often, we don’t peel back those layers until we come out the other end, dust ourselves off, shake our head in embarrassment, and ultimately gain a deeper understanding of our true self. We spend lots of energy analyzing, comparing, retracing our steps, and talking to o
ur friends about what should have happened. But really, why are we exerting so much energy toward shame and regret? Why can’t we choose to simply accept the mistakes of the past as water under the bridge, decide not to make them again, and move on? This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga as we have come to realize it is a tool to begin to understand the whole self. The self as an emotional individual in addition to the physical self, plus a connection to a higher source and that which represents your Faith. Yoga’s entire philosophy rests on drawing awareness to this three part system. We must accept where we are as physical beings, embracing our current emotional state, and believing firmly in our Faith that one could begin the process of understanding.
The word “acceptance” seems to carry a negative connotation, weighed down with grief as used in the following phrases, “I accept that he doesn’t love me anymore,” “I accept that a family relationship will always be strained,” or “ I accept that I’m not in the job that I love.” Each one of these phrases is heavy, a hard tug on the joy of life we all saw ourselves living years ago when we had the carefree, quickly-abled body of a 10 year old. Yes, acceptance can be hard and tired, but it can also be incredibly liberating and freeing! “I accept the undeserved and unconditional love of my life partner; my friends; my God.”
How does this all tie in to the choices we make? It’s simple. Choose to accept that which YOU think will serve you well in the long run. Decisions are difficult, especially when they involve the emotional side of things and this doesn’t just apply to the overly-feeling response of the female, because males have a healthy dose of this as well. You as an emotional being have a choice to make. And you as a spiritual being also has a choice to make. Combine these two parts together on your mat with the physical self serving as as a vessel or filter toward change. Notice during your practice the insights that are discovered. They float by quickly, sometimes too quickly and they can be hard to grasp. But here’s the key: keep returning to the mat! Those fleeting insights will come back, the answer will come, and the choices will be easier to make. As far as the past choices you have made, good or bad, simply accept them. Yes, a lot of them are heavy and a lot of them still cause pain, but you will be amazed how quickly they can be transposed to strength and beauty not only in your life, but also in the lives of others. To be completely honest, it’s the bad decisions I’ve made that have deepened my Faith, strengthened my character, and gave me a body slam to the ground for a real-life wake up call. Don’t ignore the bad ones; they hold great value. The good choices we accept easily—no big shakes—but they too can cause damage if we become too self congratulatory and forget our capacity for screwing up!
Bottom line: Accept where you are right now. At this very moment. The good, the bad, the ugly, the shameful, it’s all a part of the process. Make it a choice, an active choice to listen while you are on your mat and do not judge. Understand that humans make mistakes, but they are only mistakes if we allow them to be. He will love you again because he did once, that relationship will mend, just keep pouring into it, and that job you don’t like right now might simply be the perfect stepping stone for your dream position. It’s a one day at a time thing, it’s a Life thing and the mat can help you get there.