I find myself turning to mantras to get me through these difficult days. There is something soothing about the repetition and simple wisdom of the words.
The first one is from a yoga class I took a couple of months ago. My instructor told us “Trust your equipment.” She meant the phrase in a physical sense. Trust your body. Believe it is strong enough for the pose. Use all of your muscles, not just the ones you use habitually. But I’ve been extending the phrase to all of the tools I have available—mental, spiritual, physical. When I lean into the trust, I know I have what I need to get through any challenge.
The second mantra evolved from an interview with Jack Kornfield: “It’s in your DNA.” Kornfield was speaking about the experience of survival that lies in our DNA, simply because we are alive. We may never have been through anything like this before, but we’re all alive because our ancestors have. Our ancestors survived WWII. They survived pandemics and plagues. They fought wild animals and lived in caves. I am alive today because my ancestors survived things they thought they couldn’t.
My grandfather, a Nebraska farmer, helped take the Alps back from the Nazis, having never seen a mountain before he was sent to basic training. That strength is in my blood. We all have a story like that somewhere inside. “It’s in your DNA.”
The final mantra is from my dearest yoga teacher. She likes to say, “The future will arrive.” We love to wish things would happen sooner, but we often have no control over when things will happen. Still, the future does come. Maybe not as fast as we want … but it comes, even without us actively willing it. So when I think about all of the things I miss that I can’t have right now—in-person yoga classes, hugs with friends, a beer in a glass at a dark bar, a comfortable silence with someone I love—I remember that, “The future will arrive.” These things will return. And it will happen without me forcing it.