In the cool morning air I rolled out my yoga mat. Before I knew it I was laying belly down to the earth, head turned to the side, womb and heart surrendered, prostrate, drinking in the embrace of the Great Mother Earth below me, and giving her the delicate ache of my heart break.
‘Stiff upper lip, keep busy and you won’t have those feelings, they only get in the way,’ my dad said one lonely phone call. I’ve been schooled to forge on. But I find I am of another ilk. I feel everything.
On the yoga mat I also used to push on, sweat it out, keep doing asana until I could push past those slower, more fragile feelings, call upon the warrioress to override the vulnerability. Holy rage drove me forward, or alternately I could generate the life force of rage by heating up those feelings with a strong practice to avoid tender feelings, or the dreaded numbness.
Those feelings still appear. They come in waves, cycles. They arise when death brushes close past me and stops at one of my beloved friends. They surface when I find myself at a protest to defend clean water and soil against careless economic interests, again. They bob up and down in my throat like a plum I accidentally swallowed whole. Under my rigid shield is the medicine of tears and grief and heartbreak. Escape into the busi-ness of doing has not taught me how to be with those feelings when they arise, how to honour them as human, real and natural and the very fecund soil in which to grow compassion.
I bring my whole self to my yoga mat now. Every day is different. I practice from and with my tender self. I breathe her open. Somedays she is transformed into wild action, clarity or resolve; other days tears flow and I find myself in asanas that are inward, bring balance and pratyahara. Vitality is life force. With my feelings acknowledged I affirm that I am alive, human, beautifully feeling and patiently finding my way to wholeness. From and with those authentic feelings I can pray, envision, and am ignited to scuplt a world where we treat the earth and each other with the care that is necessary.
Authenticity in the present moment makes room for the next moment to be new, each inhale an opportunity to in-spire, gratitude for life emerges like a graceful flower unfolding. Today life is a dance of openhearted adventure.
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
– Helen Keller