“To lose connection with our bodies is to become spiritually homeless. Without anchor we float aimlessly, battered by the winds and waves of life.” – Anodea Judith
I’m not going into this last week of 30 Days of Yoga ready to jump into the final practice video, I’m still building back strength and working with the videos from the previous weeks. But slow and steady has led me to some discoveries. First, it turns out I’m officially NOT LAZY! Pardon the shouting, but it’s still a new concept for me. On a conference call with Marianne I shared the saga of dealing with my taskmaster and talked about going from the extreme of pushing myself to the other extreme of getting lazy about practice – that’s when Marianne told me I wasn’t lazy. At all. It turns out that I’m stubbornly resistant – who wants to do Yoga practice with a crabby taskmaster calling the shots!? In a way, it’s a healthy reaction, but since I’m actually the one that’s gets all crabby and pushy with myself the whole ‘healthy’ idea starts to break down. That led to my second discovery.
In the post leading into the first week, I had the intention of easing myself gently into practice, but there were plenty of times when I got frustrated with my slow progress. With the frustration came shame for having let go of my home yoga practice for so long. In the process of bringing gentle compassion into my practice I discovered that trying to block out the pushy thoughts and then go about being compassionate with myself – well, it doesn’t work. First I have to give myself compassionate understanding for all the grumbling and unreasonable demands. I’m using what I’ve learned in meditation – I don’t try to make those thoughts go away. They come in waves and I remind myself that it’s OK and that having those thoughts doesn’t mean I can’t bring compassion to my practice. The more I engage my compassion regardless of what other thoughts are present, the less frustration and shame intrude. Over the years I’ve learned (though I often forget!) to have compassion for myself, but when it came to anything associated with my body compassion easily gave way to bitter criticism. But in these few weeks I’m uncovering a sweetness toward my body I honestly didn’t think I could conjure up. So here I am – not lazy and feeling sweet compassion for my whole self. I still slip into negativity, but I’m finding it a bit easier to soften back into that sweetness. It’s amazing to me. I’m not one to say anything had to happen in order to “learn a lesson,” but I do know that the physical weakness I felt as a result of letting go of my yoga practice this past year motivated me to uncover loving-kindness for my body. I’ve never had an image of any body part other than my face in a post, so the photo above is a first. Not that revealing, but it’s a symbol of my homecoming.
This doesn’t mean life will flow down easy street from now on. Wholeness isn’t about easy, it’s about being truly present for all the muckiness and sweetness of life. It means not running away into my intellect or fantasies when the worst happens, or even when great things happen – sometimes really taking in the sweetness can feel overwhelming. It doesn’t mean I’ll feel whole all the time, but it does mean I’ve learned what to do when I realize I’m flying around in homeless.
I want to strengthen and support my connection to my “home,” so I asked Marianne for book recommendations to deepen my understanding of Yoga. I’m so pleased with the books she suggested: Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to Self by Anodea Judith and Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater. I’m finding that the philosophies of Yoga and Buddhism complement each other very well. The first book I’m reading in spurts. I’ve read the introduction and the chapter on the first chakra – I’m going to let that settle and do lot of journaling along with some suggested exercises before going on to the second chakra. Focusing on the chakras feels like revisiting my life through a new lens. The second book by Judith Lasater gives an easy and clear read of her interpretation of applying the principles of Yoga to daily life. ( If you’re interested in finding out more about these books just click on the cover images in the sidebar to the right under Current Reads.)
I have a grateful heart tonight for the compassion and wisdom Marianne brings to her classes. I’ve set my intention to participate in the 90 Days of Yoga class she will offer in August. Having a class to practice with has made such a difference. I’m grateful for all the goodness and wisdom others in class had to offer – thank you!
It’s been a long road, but I’m finally coming home! I’m “Becoming Visible” to myself as complete entity rather than a disembodied stream of thoughts and feelings. I’m coming to know that the basic goodness we all posses isn’t something we need to try to capture from somewhere in the ethers – it’s something that resides at the very core of our unified self.