The Bad Thread.

by Joanna D.

The more I have gotten to know my practice, to study it and develop it, the more I have found its subtle aspects to be… not so subtle. Some of which ride the line of what David calls “artful dodging”.

One aspect highlights the pieces sitting just below the surface. Things I believe I have the ability to accomplish but currently exist as a portion of what they could be. A shimmer of what’s possible. Things like jumping back/through/into positions. Not getting the umph, the strike, the animalistic (insert sound effects here) action required to fully realize the power of certain transitions and their rhythm in this beautiful thing called Ashtanga Yoga.

It’s woven throughout my entire practice, like a bad thread in a carefully crafted fabric. It tends to bring me down some, leaves me questioning my ability. My ability to progress in the asanas, to progress in life, to change and fully develop into the being I believe I am meant to be. Want to be. Is it the ever so talked about aspect of fear? Or is it laziness? Doubt? Resistance? I’m capable… pretty sure it’s in there somewhere. But how to tap into it? And not get all focused on and bummed out about it?

This idea of the “bad thread” reminds me of a story I was told some time back. I don’t remember the entire thing but it goes a little like this… a Buddhist monk was building a house out of mud bricks. So much care and love went into the building of this house. His heart was completely in it, first making the bricks and then carefully placing each one. One by one. After finishing he saw a flaw. One brick was slightly off. Slightly discolored and out of sorts. He was so upset he grew deep distaste for the house. All he could see was that one brick. A fellow monk soon came to see the house, completely impressed. “What a beautiful house!” he says. His friend says in response, “It could be much better. You see?” and he points to the off kilter brick while voicing his distaste for the house. The visiting monk says, “You built this beautiful house and all you can see is that one brick? How sad you can’t see the beauty of your own creation.”

The brick wasn’t the whole picture it was just one piece. Much like the bad thread is only one strand inside the entirety of a carefully crafted fabric.

So I look to the other aspect, the one of power, dynamism and grace, which I have also come to see. The amount of care and love I have put into my practice, into cultivating the space to hold it and share it and become… ME, is so beautiful! So filled with life and light. The level of understanding and faith in what I am capable of is deepening so much it’s become both frightening and beautiful. Frightening in the sense that it is so hard to change and take the steps necessary to fulfill that change. Seeing what is possible and doing it is not always easy or comfortable but it’s real, and it’s really happening.