Pray for Willingness
Last week I heard these three words said for the first time – pray for willingness. I had been loosely paying attention to the person speaking, but this grabbed me. At risk of looking like I wasn’t paying attention, I pulled out my phone and typed them in so I wouldn’t forget. And I haven’t… each moment of friction since that day, I’ve heard myself murmer quietly; “pray for willingness”.
Today was the first day in months I’ve been to a 90-minute Original Hot Yoga class – aka Bikram Yoga. Covid has made it “ok” and even advisable not to attend exercise classes indoors. I committed to the Peloton at home in May, after over a month of feeling pushed in a million different directions at work and personally, but that died quickly. I thought I might get outdoors and bike a ton being “stuck” in beautiful Vermont all summer, but that only happened 3-4 times. I did get back to the Inferno Hot Pilates classes in late August, finally starting to sweat again like I did every day almost without fail pre-covid. And every class I showed up to these past few weeks took enormous willpower and brute force. I did NOT WANT to go. I dreaded it, and watched my Apple Watch throughout the class, often staring in disbelief as the minutes that go so quickly when on instagram or Facebook slowed to a crawl in the hot room.
I was lacking willingness, and I certainly wasn’t asking for it either. I haven’t been one to pray to any higher power for the majority of my life, though I did choose to meditate and seek some level of spiritual peace these past 10-12 years. But praying for willingness when it occurred to me to do so these past few days has helped so much. Instead of calling it quits on blogging every day because I missed a couple of days, I got out of my “all or nothing” mindset and just started writing and publishing again. Who cares if its not great, just do it. Instead of giving up on healthy living (like I do every few days) because I ate an entire raspberry pie 3 days ago a la mode along with multiple plates of my absolute favorite dinner, Pasta Carbonara, I picked up the next day and knew that willingness to take good action would get me closer to where I needed to be physically, mentally, and spiritually. The amount of things on my plate at work (both for Boloco and Worthee) seem endless, and procrastination was getting the best of me at all the worst times, but I’m feeling a change there too. I’m not getting it all done, but I’m getting important things done.
Back to this morning, I literally prayed for willingness – to really want – to get back into that hot room and the Original Hot Yoga classes that have given me so much flexibility, mindfulness, and peace on many occasions these past few years. And while I almost canceled this morning a few times, telling myself I didn’t have time, I ultimately showed up… 1 minute before class started. Screeched into the parking lot on 2-wheels, as one of the instructors likes to joke when I’m running late.
As I settled onto the mat and into the routine, and my heart rate rose, and my breath became more labored, I remembered why it was that yoga often brings those moments of serenity. The only way to make it through the 90 minutes, I was rediscovering rapidly, and not be truly tortured is to breathe in and out through your nose. And as importantly, to meditate during the short shavasanas between each pose. Almost naturally, as I breathed and meditated, in my head I heard the series of questions I first learned at the Chopra Center back in 2013:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- What is my purpose?
- What am I grateful for?
Anytime I get into that state of mind, where I can quietly ask those questions, without distraction, and let the answers fall into place around me, good things follow. My mind is at peace.
I don’t remember anything else about the meeting that day, other than my friend saying “I pray for willingness every day”. Funny how powerful one short sentence can be if you listen for the magic. I’m glad I did that day. Reminds me to keep paying attention, be present always, listen to the words of others.