May 17, 2016

Good Advice isn’t Helpful without this Crucial Element.


My sister’s friend has this great quote that I have adopted into my own life and perspective: “The best advice is: Don’t take anyone else’s advice.”

I let this sink in over time and realized that it meant that only we can know whether a suggestion fits us in that moment.

It’s not even what the advice is, or how it’s shared…it’s about when the advice is given; we have to be ready to hear it. We have to arrive at the advice.

What I am learning in my own experience as a teacher and as a student is that our path—the path of healing, to happiness, or finding our purpose—these processes cannot be rushed or hurried along. Understanding, forgiveness, letting go, any of it, even self-love and kindness.

We can be surrounded by all of the good words via memes on Instagram and Facebook, with beautiful quotes from Rumi and other wise men and women, but only when we are ready to integrate these lessons into our selves, into the brain, into the subconscious, within the heart, and into the soul can we heal and grow.

We want—I certainly want—to find solutions and implement them. But I am learning that often we need the opposite of all of this activity. We need to create space to let the solutions find us.

Often we need to be doing less in order to release more. We need to receive, and in order to receive we need to pause to let the lessons filter in. We need as much Yin as Yang; it takes balance and in our Western culture we are far more active than we are passive. Real passivity is not weakness, but it is about patience and vulnerability and allowing.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many wise people, teachers and friends. But I am beginning to understand that any wisdom they have to offer, and any wisdom I have to offer, is all about timing. I know that as a yoga student, I heard the same cues about mindfulness for at least five years before they really sunk in.

And hearing those wisdom-filled words over and over was helpful to continue to remind me of what I wasn’t ready to begin doing, which was to begin to be less reactive, more aware, and kinder to myself. I had to be ready to take in this advice and implement it. I believe we all need to arrive at this space of readiness, which is highly individual and can’t be “managed” or rushed.

So I will keep reading those quotes others post and posting my own, sharing my thoughts, and I honor the fact that sometimes I’m not even ready to take my own advice. Sometimes I need to hear it the most. It’s all about timing, and when we are ready to arrive at the lesson, when it has ripened to exactly the perfect moment, all of those words we’ve been hearing over the years will fall into precisely the right places within us. Only then can we at last integrate the lessons and become more whole.

I think the beauty of this realization about timing is that everything is as it should be. The state of allowing creates space for growth in a way that force could never realize.





Author: Rebecca Polan

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Author’s Own

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