A phrase I used to hate (but now embrace)

“God willing.”

Long ago, a client of mine used that phrase whenever I was leaving her home after a private yoga session.  It would always make me upset; of course God is willing to have us spend this quality time together in the practice!  I never asked, but I didn’t really understand what she meant.

Until I heard the saying again in Sicily this past April. Now it holds a deeper meaning to me and one that actually frees me and releases guilt. 

The universe IS always conspiring in our favor, even when things happen that we might not like or that change the course of our day, or even our life. It can be hard to remember this perspective. It can be hard to embody and really come to understand this. 

Yet, this perspective is also what can save us in any given moment. It’s what can help us. It’s what can support us during times of our most difficult and challenging experiences.

This perspective reminds us that we can grow, and sometimes even come out stronger and better, from the challenging moments. 

In Sicily they say, “God willing.” This is not a passive statement. Rather, to me, it’s a very real statement that invites us to remember that ultimately we don’t know what will happen so you should still make your plans. Grazie Sicily!

We make the plans to meet, to hang out, to support each other, and to make the plans to support ourselves in these same ways that we would do our loved ones.

And, as we make these plans, we step into the acceptance of uncertainty and change. We don’t know what the weather ultimately will be like, or if someone’s car might break down, or if they get stuck in the subway. 

The statement, ‘God willing’, means that we’ve put our best effort and the most positive intention in the forefront, and that we surrender to whatever life has to hold after that. 

And that as I do that, you do that. And as you do that, I do that. And we’re doing this with each other and for each other; living life. 

So, if you make plans for a coffee date with me, but you wake up with a raging headache and can’t even get out of bed, I’m not upset. I understand. We reschedule. And vice versa.

This is what it means when they say ‘God willing.’

We aren’t upset, we understand. We live in compassion. We offer compassion. 

And we also now offer that compassion to ourselves! So when I wake up with a raging headache and I can’t make a meeting, or my child is sick and I have to change the entire day’s schedule, sometimes the entire week’s schedule, I don’t carry around the guilt and shame.  Things change, and things happen, and things happen that are sometimes out of my control.

And, furthermore…we’re not upset at God/Life either. 

Things didn’t go your way?  Your Inner peace has not changed. (Because that inner piece is Life/God also.)

We don’t have to like the change or the situation that’s fallen upon us, but we’re not going to add further suffering by getting resentful, enraged, sad, or pissed off. We are free to have all of those emotions and feelings, but may we just notice it and then take a breath and then remember that we have choice in the response to this changed circumstance. 

And in that response is our growth and our freedom. Especially as Viktor Frankl, named it so well in his famous quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

So I’ll see you on the mat and in the meditation seat! God willing! 



All my love,

Shawna 🙏🏼 

Breathe and Believe.