In yoga last week, I was hunched over next to my right leg, my shoulder practically under my bent knee, my left leg shooting behind me, and my hands grasping desperately behind my back. I was in a tight spot.
Like yoga, life presents us with some pretty challenging situations and we can either become hopeless and give up, or simply accept the discomfort of the moment, embracing the opportunity to grow stronger through the challenge. I believe life happens in ebbs and flows, and it is worth it to accept the tough times, because as they say, ‘the darkest of hours comes just before daylight.’
I am a graduate student who will soon re-enter the workforce amidst the shaky economy, so it’s been a bit of a rough semester in terms of my peace of mind. My graduate program was my dream embodied, and it has indeed been a rich experience of riding high and becoming more confident in my abilities, meeting amazing people, and living in two vibrant cities—London and Los Angeles.
But upon entering my last semester, I suddenly popped out of the grad school bubble and came crashing down to reality. I had no job lined up, no great leads, no recruiters knocking down my door. From this perspective, I started to doubt myself and my dreams, eventually elevating this train of thought to second guessing my whole purpose in life. Humbling, right? Exactly. But as yoga teaches, humility isn’t a bad thing, and actually encourages trust in the process (and those crazy poses) by maintaining a healthy perspective and recognizing small blessings.
As the semester drew on and the feelings of empty directionless void tied me up in knots, my newfound humility began developing into something else. In a slow unfolding process (like a yogi emerging from Lotus pose), I was beginning to let go of my need to control life and have all my steps figured out. I was starting to realize the necessity of just keeping the faith, and doing the only thing I could do—take one small step at a time, network for opportunities, give my last semester all I had, and carry on.
Those feelings of uncertainty and discomfort are the very things that have tested my courage, eventually creating a resilient acceptance of the present moment, all the while clearing me out for the next phase of life and pursuing new dreams.
I graduate in three weeks, and I won’t say I have a set-in-stone plan, but my trajectory is becoming clearer to me. In the meantime, I make a point to celebrate the blessings. These trying times have deepened my relationships, making me realize just how lucky I am to have amazing supporters in my life. Most of all though, my relationship with myself has deepened, and the renewed sense of trust and optimism that I have in myself, makes me want to do about 20 Dancer poses in a row… just because I believe I can.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.