Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced
as birds' wings.
-Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet
I love this poem. It is a poem about grief, loss, moving forward and finding balance. When we are at our worst, we can truly see how much progress we've made as emotionally intelligent individuals. After all, it's easy to be the yogi on the mountaintop, unaffected by others because there are no others around. It's much harder to be kind, thoughtful and centered in a world that is constantly testing you. Difficult situations show us how well (or poorly) we re-calibrate and find balance. They are tests, if we choose to see them that way. Sometimes we pass with flying colors. We find peace and even joy in the midst of the pain - not choosing one or the other, but letting them co-exist in your fluid inner world. During hard times, we find great clarity because we see that the answer is not always being happy; neither is it to dive deeply and completely into sadness or fear. The answer is to re-calibrate, to find some happiness or contentment or courage to balance the pain.
We are all in what seems to be a constant search for balance. As soon as we find it, balance seems to slip away again. Just like in our standing poses on the mat, finding balance is about taking the time to notice where the weight is going and where it needs to go, and breathing as we slowly readjust,open and close, contract and expand. The answer is not to open up so completely that we forget how to close (or vice versa) - it is to be constantly re-calibrating, allowing ourselves to change from moment to moment, accepting that our needs vary from one day to the next, finding a balance of vulnerability and strength, and recognizing how the two go hand in hand.