Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Early Spring

Whew! What a week it's been! We've been buried under 22 inches of snow here in Pittsburgh. The city has been at a stand still and many of us have been stuck in our homes.

This universe supported pause has created a bit of cabin fever in my household-- at least for everyone but me. As my kids and husband have climbed the walls, I found myself grateful for the hushed world outside. Rather than feeling self inflicted pressure to get back to "my old life", I was offered an opportunity to allow myself to slow down and appreciate what I have right now. There is no "old life" to get back to. I am alive. I am here. I have changed and grown. I have this life now.

These cooped up hours found me in meditation as I rolled out dough for stromboli or folded loads of laundry. In that time I saw myself lifting through the dankness of the last few months and bathing in hope and faith. I discovered an organic process of my spirit budding-- beginning to have faith again in my Hatha practice and hope of what moving back towards my daily practice might mean for my life.

After my blog post about how I had been avoiding my Hatha practice, a wise Yogi suggested to me her suspicion that it was not avoidance but merely that I was not yet ready to practice again. Her words have been on my heart in my meditations.

Tonight as I nursed my daughter to sleep, I felt overwhelmed with desire to move my breath my prayer in asana. I find myself ready once again-- no longer scared of my Hatha Practice but EXCITED to meet myself on the mat and discover what I need to learn.

I look out my window to the cold darkness. Under the heavy weight of all that snow, little green things patiently burrow in the dirt, waiting to feel the warmth of the sun coaxing them up through the earth. When plants are dormant, all life processes are going on, but only at a much slower rate. This interlude allows for a reawakening in the spring. If the gardener looks carefully, they see that the old brown parts aren't turning green-- they are being replaced by new growth.

It would seem that in the time following my surgery, I had my own personal winter. It took a blizzard to show me the importance of pause. It may be eight degrees outside, but it feels as if spring has come early in this house. Little buds, roots, and shoots are starting to grow!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Living in the Guest House

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~
(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

I took my first class since surgery last night. It was a gentle class taught by my teacher, Cindi. While I was driving there, my hands were trembling and I couldn't believe how nervous I was! Then it hit me-- my practice is a living prayer. I've been angry with God. When I'm angry with someone, my tendency is to shut them out. I wonder if not being ready to practice was my way of saying, "I'm not talking to you." Well, it felt time to open the lines of communication.

I walked in to the studio and was greeted with a warm hug and an understanding smile from Cindi. She's been with me through all of this so she had a keen awareness of my trepidation. I have found it such a blessing to have a teacher with whom I can completely be honest about where I am. There is no advice...she just lets me be and then offers support and information. She's present with me.

Class started and it felt like coming home when I brought my awareness to my breath. With my new limitations, I found myself having to discover new ways of moving. In many respects, I felt like a beginner... and it felt WONDERFUL! I offered myself the gift of presence. My legs didn't stretch as far as they did two months ago- so what? I had limited mobility in my left shoulder- so what? I was once again moving in meditation!

Then, we moved to balasana (Child's Pose). This was the asana I was in when I was shocked by my ICD. I panicked a bit. My breath became shorter. Then I felt Cindi's hands on my back. She just held them there a moment (I learned later she was offering me some Reiki). Then all of a sudden, I felt grounded. My entire body softened at once. I made it through...crossed a major hurdle!

The next challenge was in Savasana. I found it blissful and scary all at once. Cindi gave a beautiful Yoga Nidra and I felt myself bouncing between enjoying the hum of my body and wanting to jump out of it in anxiety. Eventually, as I sat with the fear, I saw it's roots as distrust. The challenge has now become finding ways to work in my body and trusting it, in spite of its imperfections. I suppose that trust needs to develop out of acceptance.

I find myself excited to work this out. These feelings of fear are temporary and fleeting...So I will take Rumi's advice and invite them in for tea.