Sometimes what we think of as mistakes are really the most foundational and transformative events of our lives. The problem is that we have an expectation of how something will go, and when the actual events don’t subscribe to that expectation, we call it out of line. We think we fucked up, we did wrong.
The problem is not in the event but in the expectation.
And so much of life becomes a yogic experience of managing expectations, of practicing ridding ourselves of expectation about the way things are supposed to go. Instead we need to remain open to the moment of what is happening and what we are called to do, if anything. Maybe we are just called to know and be, in the moment. Knowing and action don’t always align in neat little packages. Sometimes our knowledge is helpful in the moment, to use in some way. Other times we are best to surrender and simply exist.
So much of my own foundation in yogic principles aligns with Quaker principles and Quaker practice. I wish I didn’t have to tell you what a Quaker was. This group of people has had a really difficult time marketing themselves or making themselves known. Anyone who hears about them wants to learn more, because there is such a sense of truth about how and what Quakers practice and say. But there is an aliveness missing in the movement, and no one has done a good enough job of rallying forces together.
What one of my mentors, a former Quaker pastor from Indiana, taught me, was the important difference between expectation and “expectant waiting.” So we should not have expectations, but we can be expectant, which is akin to open. This is the mode for Quaker worship. We sit in silence for an hour on Sundays, with no explicit minister, but with the recognition that any person, at any time, can stand up with an important message for the group. This is how Spirit works, and if you’re really in tune to this Quaker practice, you begin to recognize that because all people are equal in the eyes of Love, any person you come in contact with can contain wisdom and a great big slice of God. So don’t judge by appearances, and ignore your concepts of hierarchies. God sends people to you who you need to meet and engage with and interact with on any given day, and you may not know why, or what was exchanged, but you can move forward in a kind of trust that there is a delightful order to the whole thing you’ll never fully figure out, so don’t try, just enjoy and be in and sit with.
What do mistakes and expectations and Quakers have to do with each other? How did I get here?
I blame the Lord for all my failings.
Let’s stir this pot some more.
The Essence of Love (or God, if you want to call it that), is always with us, in every moment of every day. It is a band of surrounding-ness, accessible at any given time. It is a web connecting all things. What blocks us from this knowledge is our own minds, our own consciousness. The mind is the hardest thing to conquer, and I keep coming back to this in my own life. My heart can be good and pure, and my intentions are right; my actions may fit in line with my convictions and my root, but getting my mind to agree to this party? Oh dear. It’s kind of a disaster up there. And it is that way for most of us. Which is why we practice yoga, we meditate, we pray the rosary. Because we need to clear that mess a bit. Our mind is like this playground of rowdy banshees, or a flock of wayward sheep, and we have to be the shepherd gently directing where these creatures to go, herding them together to get actual shit done. The mind is a minefield, truly. And you know this. And the only way to move through this world is to undergo practices that help you herd that cattle up there. Each day, every day, practice. Meditate and breathe. Get to a place of calm so your head, your heart, and your yoni is in nice alignment so you can be useful in this world.
(And you do not need to be useful, either. You can just be. Me, myself? I want to be useful. I want to offer. I want to bring forth. It’s just so much of who I am.)
My dear, where will we go next? How do we bring all of this together?
Oh yeah, mistakes.
So here’s the thing: whatever choice you make, you are always held in Love. If you make a choice that feeds your soul, or you make a choice that seems to harm your soul, you will still be held in Love. It’s just that some choices create pain, and some choices create peace and alignment. And we are hard-wired to avoid anything that creates pain, because we have a strong opinion that pain is wrong, and it is something to be avoided.
But darling, if you never experience any pain, how will you grow? How will you know compassion? How can you even call yourself a human being?
Let the pain be a catalyst to living wisely.
The trick is to accept that we may have emotions about what has happened to us, but they are passages we can move through. Faith is the understanding that there is something underlying that can weave everything out of nothing, that there is no cause for despair, because there is always a way. Always, my friends. Always.
Consider this: Yeshua (the more serious name for my fabulous rock star husband SexyJesus) knew he was going to die and experience an overwhelming amount of pain. He had a reason for coming into physical incarnation in this world. He had his words and life and love and knowledge to offer. But he also knew the world might not know how to receive it. Still, he stayed true to his mission. He was a magic man, a miracle worker. You think he couldn’t have gotten himself off that cross? (Loaves and fishes, walking on water, bringing dead people back to life, c’mon.) Yet he was meant as an emblem for us, an emblem of surrender, of Love that undertakes pain and suffering at times in the service of something greater. And once he died, he was able to help even more people than any of us could have ever imagined. Because when you call on him, he comes. You don’t have to call yourself a Christian or go to church to know that. It’s just that people do because they’re so overcome with the depth of his uplift-ment.
This post is getting long. And do I have a thesis?
Here it is:
Accept your choices, regardless of whether they have caused you pain. Own them. They may not have, or may not in the future, bear the kind of fruit you hoped or expected. But they are often in line with the work of your soul, and you always are Loved in the midst of them. Your work is to figure out what’s real, what matters most to you in this world, and act from that internal compass.
It gets easier.