Archive for October, 2013

Be Here Now

So I’ve become convinced that if I lived my life at yoga retreats, I would be the happiest, wisest, most zen-like chick you’ve ever met.  But that kind of defeats the purpose, right?  If you haven’t been to a yoga retreat or workshop, I suggest you check it out.  It’s good for your doshas and your chakras and all that weird stuff.  If you have had the good fortune in life to attend one of these things, then you know what I’m talking about.  You spend a weekend/week/month in this little bubble of chanting and chatturangas and you feel like you could single-handedly create world peace…or at the very least, take control (finally) of your own destiny.  But no.  Not so fast grasshopper.  You come home and something pushes your trigger pretty much immediately.  You wake up on the wrong side of the bed or eat a cheeseburger or something like that and you feel like all the work you’ve done was for naught.

                At least that’s how I have felt in the past.  But I’m working on it…and what I’ve come to is this: if I can just take one little gem (or maybe a few little gems) from the world inside of this bubble and incorporate them into the big ol’ ocean of my life, then I’m still in a better place.  And if I can take these little gems and blog about them and you, my readers, get something from it, then….well, then, crap, that’s almost like creating world peace right??

                I was in the mountains of West Virginia last weekend for a workshop with Beryl Bender Birch.  The leaves were starting to turn dizzying shades of autumn, we were squired away in a gated community free from government shutdowns, we had wonderful food accompanied by even more wonderful conversation and, oh yeah, we did some yoga.  On the first night of the workshop, we all met inside a horribly carpeted conference room and sat on the floor surrounding the instructor.  The theme of the evening’s discussion was ‘Why Are You Here?”  As you can imagine, that topic gets pretty existential when you throw a bunch of yogis in the same room.  We went around, introducing ourselves and talking briefly about what brought us HERE—to yoga in general and to the workshop specifically.  When it was my turn, I said that I’d signed up for the workshop because my friend/boss/co-yoga teacher told me to….but that, as it turns out, it was exactly what I needed at the moment.  Due to some recent happenings in life, I really felt like I needed to disconnect a little bit, to spend a little time soul searching.

                As it turns out, we all had the wrong answer.  We are HERE because, well, there’s no other place to be.  Like it or not, you are where you are.  So deal with it.  Beryl (yeah, I’m totally on a first name basis with this incredible woman now) said that night “the universe is never unconscious of itself.”  As a person who can be somewhat of a perfectionist and a slight control freak, this is a tough one for me.  If something isn’t quite going as I’d planned, I spend a lot of time wondering why not.  I want answers.  I guess that, in the past, when I’d thought about this whole ‘universe has a plan’ type thing, I envisioned myself sitting back, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for some sort of deliverance.  And that’s not really my style—I’m not comfortable living in uncertainty.  But as in everything, I think there lays a happy medium somewhere between thumb twiddling and holding the reins of control as tight as I can.

                Now, being that I am a completely enlightened individual (please read my sarcasm here), my answer to this came to me while we were doing meditative breathwork on day two of the workshop.  I was breathing like Darth Vader and engaging my bondhas (I could define these terms but its way more fun for me to picture you shaking your head at my hippie yoga chick terminology).   Anyhoo, I was sitting there and this phrase drifted into my head—-Trust in all that you are; Trust in all that will be.   I never thought that I had trust issues before; in fact, I feel like I am a little too quick in putting my trust in others.

                This is different, however, because I was lacking trust in the most important person involved in the equation—me.  And I was lacking the trust and patience in the fact that being here…now…is right where I need to be.  These good things in my life are no mistake.  But neither are the things that are a little bit challenging.  The trick, I think, is to be able to sit with and celebrate all of them.  Beryl told us that afternoon that if you are not present, then you can miss out on so many beautiful synchronistic happenings in life.  So trust in it all—the good, the bad and the ugly.  Most importantly though, trust in yourself to be able to navigate each and every single turn with grace.

                In closing, if I lived in my life at yoga retreats, I might learn a whole bunch but I would never get the chance to try everything out in the real world.  Speaking of yoga—though I’ve been doing yoga for years and can comfortably do a headstand against a wall or in a room by myself, I’d never been able to go up in the middle of a crowded class, for fear of taking out any unsuspecting classmates if I fall.  On the final day of the workshop, guess what I did?  Yup, I trusted myself and put my feet up in the air with the best of them.  Thanks universe.

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