Often when I say “no” to something I feel bad. I feel like I’m letting someone down, that I’m not doing my part. Usually when I say “no” it’s best for me, but being one that often puts others first, I still struggle with being my first priority.
Last month my breathwork teacher was in town. I had the joy of being in a sacred space she created for those who were present. I had the honor of being in her presence – one that inspires, challenges and loves. Next month she is hosting her first retreat in the mountains of New Mexico. When I first heard about this I thought: I want to be there! However, with Spain and a family vacation in the works, I knew it wouldn’t be possible this time.
When I told Beth that I really wanted to attend but wasn’t able to this time she told me “it’s okay.” She told me that the people who are supposed to show up will show up. She told me that she has no expectations other than to be open to the Spirit and watch it all unfold. I told her that if she plans another one I want to be there. Again, she reminded me not to hold onto what we don’t know – there may be another one, there may not.
Unattachment. That’s what it looks like. Holding your hand open to what may fall into it. A gesture of openness, not grasping.
Last week my yoga teacher sent me a link to apply for a teacher training course at her studio next year. First of all I was honored that she thought I should apply. I haven’t been going to yoga as much as I used to, so the fact that she still sees growth in me made me feel good. Secondly, I wanted to say YES immediately. I wanted to show her gratitude for the ask by responding with a “yes.” However, once I looked over the schedule and the fee I knew the time wasn’t right. When she sent a follow up email I replied with, “this will happen someday, but not yet.”
I’m not sure how I expected her to reply but I was taught about unattachment once again. She wrote back: “I think this training is in your future and know it will happen when the time is right!!!” There wasn’t an ounce of disappointment in response to my “no” – instead she affirmed my decision and knows that it will happen someday.
Perhaps I’m not really saying “no” – maybe I’m saying “not yet.” Not yet feels open to the possibilities, open to what may come in the future, open to what the Universe offers me. Not yet means maybe soon but not now. Not yet says someday when the time is right. Not yet leaves open the possibility of yes in the future. Not yet offers hope.
As much as I’ve tried to plan my life, as much as I’ve tried to remain in control, more often than not, my life has taken twists and turns that I didn’t expect. Rather than being disappointed when something doesn’t go as I planned, perhaps I need to start saying to myself: It’s not meant to be…yet. Life is surprising. It’s unpredictable. And, it’s a lot longer than I realized (God willing)! I anticipate a lot more time on this earth – not everything has to be done right now, today, in this week, month or decade. Adopting an attitude of “someday but not yet” might ease me anxiety to do it all right now. It’s okay to say, “I’ll get to that, but not today.”
I’m still going to finish my to-do list at work each week as best I can. I’m still going to reach for goals and try my best to achieve them. I’m still going to look ahead for what might be possible. But, I’m also going to start giving myself a bit more grace. I’m going to start thinking in terms of “someday, but not yet.” That seems more hopeful to me, more full of possibilities. Unattached: open hands, open heart.