“Is this really helping me?”
As I continue to have conversations with students, clients, and readers of The Healing Journey the practice of asking this simple question seems to provide the most significant shift in one’s readiness to do the work. It was, in fact, the first question that I began to ask myself which paved the way for my own journey to heal and start anew. It is the question that ultimately led me to truly believe I am enough.
We are so convinced in our minds that we know what our lives, our days, our bodies, our accomplishments “should” look like. We believe in our minds that what we crave, want, desire, attach to is just the way things are and how they “should” be. But when we begin this practice of pausing for stillness to ask this question, we may begin to recognize that our constant reaching for a certain state of being is actually not helping us at all.
In yoga, the point of this pause is to bring full awareness to your current state of being. Once you find yourself fully in the present you can ask if your train of thoughts, judgments, attachments or expectations are really helping you—again, in this moment.
When you recognize discomfort and that your physical and emotional reactions to it are draining you, this pause can help you conclude the answer is no. And this is where you practice holding space for pain, disappointment, sadness, anger, anxiety, frustration, and so on.
It is this practice that matters in its biggest and smallest moments, as much and as often as possible. It is the practice of stillness that allows you to process through your emotions rather than what some will refer to as “toxic positivity.” We are not reaching for affirmations to ignore the reality of our discomfort—we are holding the space for ourselves to sit with it and practice the shift of our energy, our focus, and our attention.
The next time your expectations of an outcome are not met exactly as you wanted, the next time your hard work is lost after hours of time and effort, the next time you explode or implode in frustration that things are not going a certain way—pause and ask “is this reaction, attitude, belief, thought process really helping me?” “Do I really need anything outside of myself as I am right now?” And then from there allow yourself to explore the tools that might actually help.
This is the work. You are enough. This is the shift, the pause, the space, that you have always deserved.