The other day, I had brunch with my son and future daughter-in-law. I am continually amazed at what he orders and eats at our regular brunch dates. As a child, he was always the one who ate the same thing, afraid to try something new or different. For a full school year (September to June!), he ate a turkey sandwich on Martin’s potato bread every day for lunch. He looked at cauliflower, tomato, asparagus, tuna fish and kiwi with fear in his eyes. He only wore sweatpants, afraid of jeans because they were foreign and different to him. He had a notable aversion to the unknown. Yet, this morning, as he ordered an omelet with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian sausage and cheese, with some avocado toast, exclaiming gleefully that there were sweet potatoes in his hash browns, I couldn’t help but wistfully smile at his long-lost aversion to the unknown. He’s grown up and embraced the unknown as he has learned to not only appreciate but to love new and different foods as well as other things. He’s come a long way in pushing away the unknown.
My son is far from alone in his preference for the comfort of the familiar. We all have experienced this. The unknown can be a scary place. There is a fear of the unknown because we are not comfortable with it. If anything, we are uncomfortable. It can be daunting to try new things. We have all felt this way as we moved to new places, started new jobs, or even tried new foods and new activities.
The practice of yoga is all about facing the unknown. Each time we come to our mat, we move our way into the unfamiliar. It may be new and unknown poses, or an unknown feeling in our body/mind as we enter a familiar pose that feels not so familiar that day. Yet, when we come to the mat, we don’t push away the unknown. We relish it as we understand these new poses and/or feelings in our body/mind are the means for new growth and wisdom. We realize the unknown has unlimited possibilities in it. Our yoga practice also reminds us that, in these times of uncertainty and unknown, it is important to be present with all sensations, to live in the moment, and to pay attention, so that, when the unknown becomes known, when we take the leap of faith to try something different or do something new, we can participate more fully in each and every moment of those unfamiliar tastes or activities and gain a new perspective and wisdom on what we enjoy and how we handle the new, different and unknown.
Just like my son, with experience and practice, we all stretch our limits and become a little braver, letting the discomfort with the unknown fade away and allowing us to embrace what is new and delicious, what is unfamiliar yet so wonderful. I hope to see you on your mat this week in any of our in-studio or online classes where you may face the unfamiliar and yet gain new wisdom, insight, and a whole new appreciation for the unknown!
With gratitude for reading my musings, Leslie