About 10 years ago a friend invited me to a yoga class. Just divorced, I was feeling open to new things. Yoga was really not something I'd considered before, but I didn't evaluate it, overthink it or analyze it to death. I just went. It was my first lesson. Here's what I learned about divorce from yoga.
1. Beginner's mind. Imagine what it would be like to see a sunrise for the first time, as if you have never seen one before and you will never see one again. This is beginner's mind. It involves letting go of your expectations for how things were yesterday, ought to be today or might be tomorrow. It was with beginner's mind that I accepted the invitation to yoga. I had no expectations. When you experience things with beginner's mind, you forget your opinions and desires and are open to seeing things as they are right now. Forgive the pun, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to see how this applies to being divorced. Instead of stressing about what's different, what you don't have anymore and what you need to have by tomorrow, beginner's mind tells us to just see things as they are right how.
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2. Bearing discomfort. Just what it sounds like, in yoga, sometimes you hold the pose long enough to create a bit of discomfort. You learn that you can bear that discomfort. You learn that after you release the pose, you feel stronger for having tolerated that discomfort. Sometimes you even notice that you're still holding the pose, the discomfort has passed and your downward dog is so happy it's wagging its tail. The thing about divorce is that the pain is never far away, no matter which side you're on. Whether you're the abandoner or the abandonee, the righteously indignant or the pretend indignant, or just one of the parties, divorce is never a pain-free enterprise. There are too many changes, too many upsets and too many discomforts. Like your downward dog, learning to bear the discomfort, to tolerate it for just a few more minutes, days or weeks, results, finally, in one happy dog.
3. Moderation. How many sun salutations does it take to feel your daily practice is complete? Just enough to feel energized, but not so many that you've exhausted yourself and can't do anything else. You want to be feeling the stretch, but you don't want to be twitching or shaking. You must find the moderation, the balance, the intelligent edge. So how many sun salutations is that? It's different everyday and for everyone. Whatever you start doing post-divorce, and I encourage you to start doing new things, do it with moderation. There's no need to be out every night, to make 20 new friends, to have a date every weekend or to take up 15 new hobbies. There's no need to lose those extra pounds this week or to find the perfect house tomorrow. It feels good to know that you decide how much is enough.