Like Yoga

This past quarter, I took a “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” class at Seattle University. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, and one I will continue to hold and unpack in the months and years to come. As a part of the experience, we participated in a three day retreat. Many of the 47 of us in the class had never done yoga before, but all of us engaged in the practice every morning and evening of the retreat. Though I’d done yoga before, I was amazed at its impact–particularly with the frequency of engaging it twice a day. Breathing. Stretching. Silence. Body consciousness.

hartley-photoOne of the class facilitators, Hartley McGrath (pictured left; source), led our yoga sessions. I told her in person what I’ll share here now: she was incredible. I wish I could take yoga classes from her all the time. She was casual but formal, using humor and everyday language alongside yoga terms, and pacing every move and element in an effortless way–complete with meaningful readings, silence, and music at the end of the session.

Hartley shared with us at one point in the retreat: “Emotional intelligence is much like yoga. The poses are not hard; it’s holding them that’s hard.

In this blog space, I focus on the idea of not just engaging change, but welcoming the transformation that change, and growth, brings. 

I’ll share now two readings on this topic that Hartley introduced to me. I chose to bold pieces of this here quoted text.

41aq7a5RfrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“When You Open Up to Life as Is” by Pema Chödrön (pictured right; source):

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.

51xtjUJll7L._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_“Honor the Beginning” by Melody Beattie (pictured right; source):

“Beginnings can be delicate or explosive. They can start almost invisibly or arrive with a big bang. Beginnings hold the promise of new lessons to be learned, new territory to be explored, and old lessons to be recalled, practiced, and appreciated. Beginnings hold ambiguity, promise, fear, and hope.

Don’t let the lessons, the experiences of the past, dampen your enthusiasm for beginnings. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it will always be that difficult. Don’t let the heartbreaks of the past cause you to become cynical, close you off to life’s magic and promise. Open yourself wide to all that the universe has to say.

Let yourself begin anew. Pack your bags. Choose carefully what you bring, because packing is an important ritual. Take along some humility and some lessons of the past. Toss in some curiosity and excitement about what you haven’t yet learned. Say your good-byes to those you’re leaving behind. Don’t worry who you will meet or where you will go. The way has already been prepared. The people you are to meet will be expecting you. A new journey has begun. Let it be magical. Let it unfold.

All parts of the journey are sacred and holy.
Take time now to honor the beginning.

Welcome the beginning. Welcome change. Welcome the discomfort and stretch with open arms.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello, I saw your post through the reader and really enjoyed reading your review. I always wondered what those classes were like. The quote about how EI is like yoga is so so true! I’m working on both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hgmello says:

      Thanks so much! So glad.


  2. LSquared says:

    I enjoyed Pema Chödrön’s quote as well as your breezy review of the retreat.
    Pema Chödrön used a few words to describe how general and tumultuous experience is — and how much more loving we can be with our acceptance of it.
    That interested me — because in action aka leading, I need to be okay with near chaotic changeability in myself and others. However, when I’m at rest aka vacationing my experience isn’t complex. In fact it can be boring at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hgmello says:

      I love that… “I need to be okay with near chaotic changeability in myself and others…” That’s powerful and important. It’s I think another angle of what I’ve been wrestling with lately (the “No Label Needed” blog post here touches on it too)… Thank you! Chewing on that now… & happy vacationing!

      Liked by 1 person

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