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Learn to Play Dead…

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

white catepillar

...and simply wait.

There is power in sitting and waiting a situation out. Often we rush and make decisions just so we can move through something and put it behind us. Usually we rush, when we don’t want to deal with an uncomfortable circumstance.

We also tend to rush when we are afraid or when we are in a lot of pain. We want the fear and pain to leave, so we think we will be better off if we just decide to then be done with it. Sometimes this works. Often, it backfires and catches up to us again.

The other day while teaching yoga outside, a couple of caterpillars crawled onto my mat. I attempted to divert them to a leaf so I could relocate them. They wanted nothing to do with that. One of my students, using a little bit of force, took them off my mat. They both rolled into a ball. I silently said to myself, “Oh no, they are dead. How can I not practice ahimsa while teaching a yoga class?”

My attention kept going to the two furry, white, balls. One crawled away, but the other one remained. During class, I kept looking to see if it came back to life. No luck. After class, I went to the caterpillar and wanted to move it, and it started to crawl again. It played dead the entire time. It felt safer to play dead, since it knew that no one would bother it if it were dead – except me, who wanted to respect it and move it to the grass for a proper burial.

As I thought about the concept of playing dead, I thought about my life and all the times I made very fast decisions. I don’t have any regrets for those decisions, but I bet if I had waited it out, the process to get to the end point would have been less stressful and less dramatic.

In the end, the truth is revealed to us and our questions get answered. We just have to be patient enough to wait. There is power when we let a situation work itself out. There is power when we have faith that the process will unravel exactly as it needs to be.

Try it out. The next time you are faced with a situation where you are not sure what to do, just do nothing. Play dead. Animals play dead out of fear. We can play dead out of practicing patience.

Don’t let your days and nights be consumed with playing out what-if scenarios. Don’t spend energy on Google Guru looking for a solution. Just wait it out and enjoy the process. You will get your answer. Is there something in your life that needs to be worked out, but you don’t know what to do next?

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