‘Accept that you are held and supported and love [...] so lean into that and allow yourself to be held just a little.’
These are the words of my yoga teacher and mentor, Naomi Absalom. She shared them right before I had knee surgery and, honestly, they couldn’t have come at a better time.
Confession: I am a workaholic. I find it hard to slow down and accept help, and I’m sure I’m not alone here. How many times have you shut out those around you so that you can just get the thing done?
I think most of us are guilty of being blinkered in life at times. We’re so focused on achieving the end goal that we often miss what is directly in front of us. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve zoomed in on the micro details in order to get something done and lost sight of the bigger picture; forgotten that in fact, I am not an island, and that we are all in this together. Whether you apply this scenario to work or beyond, I’m sure you’ve experienced it too.
These past few weeks have been incredibly eye-opening. Rather than resisting this enforced period of rest and slowing down, I’ve kind of just accepted it. It is what it is. Injury sucks, yes, but like most things in life, it will pass. Instead of stressing about what I can’t do, I’ve felt an unusual sense of calm (in a work capacity at least, there have been a few episodes of frustration regarding travelling across London in rush hour, as my husband can attest).
This past fortnight I completed my advanced teacher training with Jason Crandell (hang on a minute, that’s not resting, I hear you say – bear with me). Normally, I would be itching to flow and test my body’s capabilities, but I knew I had to rest and let the surgery do its thing.
Each day I set myself up on blankets and bolsters in the corner of the studio and simply listened and watched how Jason taught, and how students responded to what he was saying. It made me realise there is so much to learn in quietly sitting back and observing. Each day, my fellow coursemates helped me set up with what I needed – water, tea, snacks – and joined me for super-slow hobbles around the block for fresh air. There was no judgement, only support and encouragement. Honestly, I felt so happy and relaxed, something I wish I felt more often.
Coming back to teaching, I was nervous. I felt vulnerable. I questioned whether I was capable of sitting on a chair and teaching from there. Then I decided to send a newsletter out to my regular students to let them know I was coming back. One reply was incredibly touching: my student reminded me that although I was on crutches, they would be my other crutch; my support system.
I think that whatever our roles in life, we forget that those around us are not out to bring us down, regardless of the narratives that run through our minds. I think that most of us need a reminder that sometimes it’s OK to lean in and allow yourself to be held. You don’t have to be your ‘best’, whatever that is. Sometimes you need to accept that you are enough just as you are. When you do, even if it's just for a fleeting moment, it's the most incredibly freeing thing.