I learned a valuable lesson years ago. I signed up for a yoga teacher training course in hopes of building a stronger spiritual practice and maybe teaching at some point. Right after our first meeting, my mother passed away. It was a life-altering experience, just a year and a half after the birth of my son. Needless to say, I thought that the best thing for me to do would be to discontinue the class because I knew I had no inclination to complete the assignments.
When I spoke with my teacher Krishna Kaur Khalsa, she smiled sweetly and told me that I will not drop out. I was appalled. I wanted to feel sympathy and, dare I say, pity. With a great deal of attitude I told her I could not promise that I would complete any of the assignments. Krishna told me, “Just show up.”
I was aware enough in my journey to understand that my extreme circumstances would warrant extreme measures of coping, so I submitted to her suggestion. For the first couple of sessions, all I did was sit on my mat in the back of the class. At that time in my life, my spiritual reservoir was empty. There was very little I felt I could contribute, but I showed up.
Meeting after meeting I showed up. The 40 day Sadhana exercise was a killer but I showed up at 4:00am for that too. The cold shower, the hour and a half to two hour asana and meditation were uncomfortable but welcome distractions from the pain and loss I was feeling. The moments that brought joy to me were when my then three year-old son would start singing the mantras to me or sitting with me in meditation. He was watching me and he was with me on that journey.
Showing up culminated in my passing the written exam. I had no idea how I knew most of the information. Showing up set a new standard in my life for consistency and discipline that surpassed anything that I had practiced up to that point. Showing up revealed to me that the intention is what it most important. Effort is great, but there are times when a transformation can take place effortlessly once one relaxes and submits to the process.
From time to time I have students who are overwhelmed and frustrated because of internal and external challenges. For those who truly have a desire to change and grow, I encourage them to continue to show up and do what they can. Most of the time it works. It usually does not only when they continue to resist and struggle with situations out of their control.
In my life, I feel a sense of peace when I know that as long as I keep showing up to be the best version of myself, what is for me will present itself.