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.

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