I feel kinda like my spiritual journey is on fast forward lately. Idle little streams I've floated in that seemed to meander down a path of their own have suddenly merged into a raging river. I'm slowly letting go of trying to control the situation or the destination....and I now can hear above the din and confusion of twirling rapids a roaring waterfall just around the bend.
I know that much freedom will come as I surrender to the free fall.
Listen for my unrestrained scream of surrender and joy.
Just a friendly warning :)
My yoga practice is still in its infancy...and it's HARD. I'm talking limb-shaking, sweat-drenching HARD. It's easily the most vulnerable thing I've ever undertaken.
My thoughts as I attempt movements my body just DOES NOT WANT TO DO range from
'what the hell am I doing this for???' to 'OMG, this is ecstasy!' to 'holy shit you can't be serious' to 'I'm freakin' rockin' this pose and I didn't even know I had this kind of strength!'.
Basically it's a raw human experience tangled with a deep form of spiritual enlightenment I've never known. Somehow moving your body in new and often awkward and uncomfortable ways while focusing on your BREATH and speaking kindly to yourself in the company of others opens you up wide.
Tremors of terror threaten to overwhelm me each time I remove my sandals to enter the sanctuary.
Tears of frustration and surrender lurk just beneath the surface as I push myself to simply TRY what I'm sure I can't do.
Waves of love, thankfulness, wonder, and acceptance wash over me as I lay in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of every practice.
Listen, I've always been 'the big girl'. For this reason I've avoided fitness clubs, classes, and anything that might reveal to the world that which I've spent a lifetime trying to hide: that I jiggle in all the wrong places.
I have cellulite and loose skin and stretch marks and vericose veins. I'm uncoordinated and my legs are too long. My breasts resemble tube socks with tennis balls at the bottom and my rear end is wide and flat. My arms are like bat wings, and my belly rests comfortably on my upper thighs when I sit. I shall never be considered anything but FAT by our pop culture.
BUT....thank Goddess, I'm not someone else's opinions.
When I finally entered my first yoga class, imagine my astonishment to find a room full of fat, thin, old, young, male, female, shy, smiling, fearful, confident Beings sitting quietly on their mats...
It feels I took my first breath ever as I dipped my toes into the healing yoga waters.....
I'm discovering hidden strengths, hidden weaknesses. Amazing beauty, amazing brokenness.
Stubborn hope and stubborn habits. Unrelenting acceptance and unrelenting fear.
The physical mirrors and reveals the spiritual and emotional. Our bodies reflect the triumph and tragedy of our inner life. And while it may be possible to move thru a physical practice of yoga without accessing the Person inside, I'm discovering it makes the practice MORE difficult to do so. The energy it takes to block the uncomfies that arise is too draining to the physical demands of the practice. So I endeavor to humbly dive into the shame and embarrassment, the frustration and fear each time I unroll my mat.
JK Rowling says "Understanding is the first step to acceptance. And only with acceptance can there be recovery."
Carl Jung said "We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses."
Yoga is ministering to me.
It's bringing me understanding and acceptance, and finally some recovery of the TRUTH of Who I am. (Which would be: Perfect as is, thankyouverymuch.)
Wanna know what I've recovered thru my baby yoga practice?
I am a woman of ABUNDANCE. A Goddess of fertility and sensual curves and softness. My bum is a gigantic HEART, my thighs are towers of STRENGTH. My skin wears the blessed evidence of a life devoted to trying to love myself, even in unhealthy ways....and of creating, birthing, nursing, and nurturing six MIRACLES into life. My arms and hands are HEALING conduits to those I love, my lips a BALM to my beloved husband. My body is SEXY and FULL and BEAUTIFUL.
And my BREATH is evidence of the unconditional LOVE coursing thru me, supporting me, and reminding me that I'm ALIVE.
In short: My BEING is PERFECT.
I'm also learning to have faith in myself....as I gingerly try to lift my hand from the supporting yoga block on the ground....and then weeble wobble my way into Warrior 3....then come crashing down in an ungraceful heap on my mat. Perfection.
I'm learning to have faith in others......to support and love me thru my attempts at HARD things, in their understanding giggles that slice thru the tension of embarrassment, in their physical touch, in the safety of community. My loneliness is beginning to dissipate, the coldness in my heart is melting in the brilliant warmth of a community of acceptance and understanding. Perfection.
The Goddess who runs my yoga school believes when the time is right, the teacher will appear.
In my instance, many teachers have appeared. And the story just keeps getting better.
I look forward to witnessing other flowerings in my life, even as I learn to live in the PERFECT moment I'm in right now.
(Which would be: ready to tumble head-long over the waterfall.)
Who'd a thunk that practicing a downward dog would open an entire universe of love, acceptance, community and faith?
And I haven't even told you about my first Kirtan concert :)