Friday, November 20, 2015

We Never Move in Only One Direction

As I drove to yoga class today, I was stopped at a light and my eyes were drawn to a young woman with a cane being lead across the street by a guide. This has happened many times before as the studio where I practice is near a school for people who are blind or visually impaired. But this particular woman's journey touched me immediately and immensely.
The scene transfixed me and I began to cry as I watched in what felt like slow motion. Could this be her first time to cross the street with a cane and a guide? Maybe, or maybe not. It felt like it though. Because the sheer force it took for her to take just one step and then another, was remarkable. I could feel it throughout my entire body and I wailed in response. I knew instantly I was watching a reflection of myself, perhaps of us all. Her head was down, her body crouched and leaning forward willing itself to cross, but the rest of her body and energy was pulling her back the other way. It was so clearly shouting, "I don't want to do this, this is too scary, I can't, I won't!" And yet, she kept going.
Maybe it was her guide there, ushering her across, holding her tightly, and whispering words of encouragement that got her to the other side. Maybe it was the power of her instincts moving her away from the dangerous cars that were about to come roaring past. Maybe it was the power of her will to try and live her life with bravery. I will never know. The amazing part for me was watching as she finally crossed the street. She did not loosen the grip of her fear. It was still holding her, and she it, even after she crossed the road. It all just felt so compelling, and so challenging, and so defeating, so heartbreaking, so life affirming and so...familiar.
I cried because I was inspired by the possibility and impossibility of all that is in any given moment. Even with my full physical sight some days I can't see, or I refuse to see. And I stop myself in my tracks. Some days I don't even try to cross the street. But most days I summon my inner courage and will myself to keep going. Some days it is because of my guides, seen and unseen, and their voices, at times gentle and at times louder than I can almost bear, reminding me of my steps, of my own voice. Some moments I feel so held, by hands visible and not and I glide through the day with ease. But some days, I am still gripped by my fear even after I've completed what seemed like the goal. No matter what, the encouragement never ceases, and that is what brought me to my proverbial knees as I watched the young woman today. The beauty and trust of that young woman and her guide, was profoundly moving. We need each other just as we need our own selves and it is ok. Receiving, to open to receive is an tremendous act of trust.
Moments later, as I listened to my yoga teacher lead us through our practice, my tears now transformed to sweat droplets, something else struck me.
We are never only moving in one direction.
As I stand in mountain, or sit in chair, or stretch in dancer's or relax into child's, or breathe into any pose, my body is reaching for opposite sides of the mat, or opposing directions in space, and that is the fire that ignites the magic of the movement. That is the balance of the whole universe in form on my mat. When I first began to practice yoga, I had no understanding of this. I just thought you put yourself into the position any way you can and hold it. Ha! I couldn't have been missing the point any more so. In yoga the energy must move in all directions to achieve a harmony in the body. But the focus isn't on what's happening in the body, it's what's happening in the breath. Maybe that's true in life too. No matter the hesitation, resistance, perceived struggle, or unease in our actions or inactions, our purpose is to be in each moment. Each crossing, each journey, every creation is an opportunity to feel the sensations of all we are experiencing and then to use our source, the life force within us that connects Us to us, to stretch ourselves beyond where we thought we could go. Beyond what's comfortable, and into the next movement.
As I walked through my day today, there was a lightness of being that penetrated me. Opportunities for learning are infinite and at every corner.
So, to us all...
Cross the road, and the next one, and the one after that. And keep going.
Trust your guides in all their forms. And let them in.
Keep breathing into all the contradictory sensations. Let them be.
Move into your next creation. Again, and again, and again.
May we all be warriors of the Light.

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