Last week I had porch coffee in the blazing heat with a dear friend. It had been a while since we’d caught up, so we were sharing all the latest events and feels when she asked, somewhat out of the blue, “what do you miss the most?” Without skipping a beat (or even weighing the context or the options) what came out of my mouth was “the illusion of certainty.” The idea hadn’t even crossed my mind before, so I’m pretty sure it was, straight up, a message from The Universe. The illusion of certainty. Pause for reflection.
If you’ve been on the planet long enough, I imagine that you, as I, have survived at least your share of life pulling the rug out from under you. You’ve lived through and survived loss, betrayal, failure, disappointment and learned that success or even things going your way is not a sure thing. In fact it’s not a thing at all.
In the process of life veering off your carefully crafted script, you were likely schooled a little or a lot in the capacity of the human heart to heal; the will of the soul to prevail; and in very real terms that whatever doesn’t kill you does actually make you stronger. Your walk through the valley of failure and loss likely showed you just how resilient and resourceful you are— and imbedded within you the truth that certainty is an illusion. Or did it?
I think that up until now, despite significant experiences to the contrary, I was still living in a self-made bubble in which there was intellectual recognition that there are no guarantees, and yet, well, maybe there are a few. Out there in the ether there’s this possibility for life’s current trajectory to go askew, but you know. It’s out there. In the ether. Things are reasonably in hand from day to day. That is, until they are decidedly not at all in hand.
Enter 2020. Here we are, in this time of profound and pervasive flux. In Katheen’s clever and brilliant terms, we are all being stirred around in the cauldron of destiny. Yes. Everyone is included in one way or another. No one is exempt. Racial reckoning, political divisiveness, global pandemic, catastrophic effects of climate change. The message is clear: NOTHING IS CERTAIN. We knew this, and yet, maybe we didn’t. Until now.
I believe it really is the year of perfect vision after all, defining the gold standard we can strive for as humans to see things as they truly are and not how we want them to be, or how our family, friends or culture would have had us believe they are. It just might be the apocalypse, which from the original Greek apokaluptein means “to uncover” or “to reveal.” Yes. This year of perfect vision is the great unveiling of what previously had been hidden, uprooting us from our complacency and complicity. Perhaps we are being liberated from the notion- once and for all- that the calm oasis of certainty we see ahead is a mirage, and always has been. Further, it is our participation in that illusion that has gotten us all here in the first place.
Athayoganushasanam (and now, The Yoga, Sutra 1.1). It’s been preparing us for this all along. Yoga offers the same message over and over- no bells or whistles, and nothing new. Be. Here. Now. Just this breath. Just this moment. This is what you can know. This is what you can control. This is as far as you can see or plan. And if well-practiced, it is enough.
I feel like a broken record repeating the same thing in my classes and and in my own mind again and again. The medicine is presence in the present. This is all there is. And when we are disciplined and steady enough, we open the door to clarity. Within that light lies not only the truth of our essential unity, but access to our individual right action in the moment- the one next step of doing our part toward wholeness and healing.
I hope you’re staying with the practice, in community, with self-compassion and patience. The task at hand is clear, as we cannot ever un-see. May we commit to the light of truth, however uncomfortable, refusing to pull the veil over our eyes again. May we breathe into discomfort, and find refuge in the center of the moment, for at its core is peace.