As humans, we tend to gravitate toward the familiar, even if it is uncomfortable or painful. Knowing that we are repeating old patterns is the awareness we need to interrupt these unhelpful cycles and begin again. Observing ourselves is a vulnerable, yet vital process, and doing so without judgment is important. Beating ourselves up is rarely helpful in the process of healing and growing.
In my work with patients, and in my relationships with friends, I have watched so many come face-to-face with repeated patterns and emotions. Sometimes they wonder why they seem to “always date someone like this” or “get into the same arguments” with their spouse or partner. We move so quickly through life, keeping busy with things outside ourselves, that we rarely take the time to sit still. We don’t take the time to see how we contribute to this pattern of relating to others and the world. Often we don’t take the time, and keep moving, because to sit still and be present with ourselves is uncomfortable, or brings up the thoughts and feelings we want to avoid.
In yoga, it is referred to as the “gift” of stillness, because it offers us the opportunity to connect to ourselves and begin to know ourselves at a deeper level. At the end of a yoga class, after we complete our moving meditation where we challenge ourselves physically and emotionally, we lay still; we observe ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions. We are encouraged to do so without judgment. Just witness, just be present. When we shut out all the noise and sit still with ourselves, we are given the gift to know ourselves; our wants, desires, our strengths, and the areas we would like to improve or change.
Most who find their way to my practice are in pain and want to change. But sometimes they are in pain because they are resisting change. A seed must break open in order to become a flower, so we too must challenge our limits, get uncomfortable, and change in order to grow. Look at yourself with love, and if a behavior or pattern of relating no longer serves you, let it go. Trust in the process.