Just Be - Learning To Lean In


I hear this all the time, and as a yoga instructor and counselor, I say it often. But in the midst of my personal turmoil, what does this really mean, and how do I do it?

My marriage is difficult. Enough said.

I want to forgive (but not forget), but it seems that I cannot.

At least, not yet. So maybe this is where I allow myself to just be angry for a while and to experience the ups and downs of this intense and sometimes erratic emotion. Maybe this is what Thich Nhat Hanh means when he advises that we take care of our anger, rather than suppressing it or sweeping it under the rug for another day. Just let it be and wait for a shift.

I also feel confused, and this is uncomfortable for me. As what increasingly feels like “my former self,” I felt grounded a good portion of the time. I knew the things I had to do stay centered, or to re-center during difficult times. Running, yoga, hiking, hot baths, sitting quietly, and having intimate discussions with other women - these tools grounded me.

Now, I am grasping clumsily at my tools. I look for the motivation and focus to use them in between straight-up demands for breast milk from my little one, and seemingly endless bids for attention from my eldest. When I get my hands on a tool, I fumble with it and use it awkwardly, without the skill and ease that used to be there.

I want the confusion to go away, but again, maybe that is a denial of the present, of what is in this moment. I challenge myself to just be confused, knowing deep down that eventually, the answer will be revealed to me.

This brings me to patience, or more aptly, my impatience. I want changes and answers now, and I want “The Universe,” or whom/whatever I am supposed to be trusting, to give me the answers, well, now. I talk to this omnipotent and abstract force daily, and I believe in it, but that doesn’t make the answers come faster. I feel some nudges, and I do attend to them, but then my confusion rears its head, and I lose my bearings. Navigating this trail of “Unknown” is frightening and exhausting at times. I try to embrace this feeling of being lost while also taking trial steps in different directions.

I fret about how my emotions and our marriage are affecting our daughters, and I want that to go away, too. I want my girls to feel grounded and have “stability,” but then I am not sure what that means, either. Is it possible that just be-ing honest and humble as I ride the waves of these emotions is modeling something valuable for them? Could this actually contribute to a sense of stability?

It’s easy to blame someone else for these uncomfortable feelings – anger, confusion, impatience, a lack of direction, and anxiety. But in my moments of clarity, I know that I must take responsibility for myself, my life, and my truth.

So, can I do it? Can I boldly and truthfully respond to the myriad of questions about my marriage, our career paths, our parenting, and our general direction in life with a truthful and present-oriented, “I don’t know”? I have seen how uncomfortable this response can be for others, so can I just be with their anxieties, judgments and possible disapproval? Can I still live a joyful and productive life without knowing all the answers? Am I open to the possibility of just being married for now, without knowing immediately how it will all turn out?

I want to shout, “Yes!” to all of the above, and maybe that is what others want to hear.

But in truth, in this moment, the raw and, perhaps, un-pretty answer is, “I don’t know,” and I am trying to just be ok with that.

By Dana Brokofsky

Image Lillie Duncan