Unfolding on the Mat
Expanded Content and Thoughtful Guidance
What lights you up?
This was the question my friend and colleague, Tej Arvind, recently asked me, and I was surprised at where it took me.
I often give her a buzz when I'm in a moment of standing still and contemplating a next phase in my life. She has a gift with reading the planets, and this time was no exception. Her insights validated much of what I've been sensing about this strange time in our lives and helped me gain some focus and direction.
Her simple question took me from wondering about what I SHOULD do to what I LOVE to do. Just asking the question lit me up! I mean, wow! There are so many things that light me up! I love teaching yoga, being with my family, visiting with friends, swimming, walking, writing, and studying.
But her question was more specific than that. Within teaching, what lights me up? Within relationship, what lights me up? What is it about writing and studying that brings that inner joy to the surface?
Digging a little deeper brought me to a place where I wasn't sure.
What is the common spark of joy within all these areas of my life ?
Frankly, this isn't a brain or thinking question. This is a spirit question. This is an embodiment question.
As Mark Nepo puts it in The Book of Awakening,
"Though life sometimes begins in the head, the full body of joy cannot be know there."
So how does one answer a non-thinking question?
Take it to your practice.
A yoga practice of embodiment helps you slow down your mind. The control of your breath calms the chatter that repeatedly asks, and tries to answer, the questions meant for your heart.
We will do this in our online classes together this week.
To do this anytime on your own, grab your mat and journal and try this:
May what lights you up from the inside determine your steps on the outside.
Does the question, "Now what?" keep coming to your mind? At least here in Austin, some restrictions are being lifted and there is a sense that life will return to "normal" eventually, and perhaps sooner than later. Some churches have returned to worshipping together with social distancing, some restaurants are open at 25%, and there is a bit of spring/cabin fever in the air. There's also a lot of debate about the right thing to do.
I'm feeling the same for our yoga community.
Do we come back to class at a limited capacity? How can we maintain connection to the online community we have created together? Is it time to pivot AGAIN???
The only answer I get is, "Not yet."
I feel like I/we are standing in the liminal space between what was and what will be. Richard Rohr describes this liminal space as
"where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next."
(See many great quotes and further reading on the liminal space here.")
It's that moment when the ocean retracts before rushing forward again with a new wave. Or it's the pause between the inhale and the exhale. There is nothing to "do" but wait for right timing to move forward; to go ahead and exhale.
It's in these times that I take stock. I look around at what I've been doing, what has changed, and what still needs attention. I let time exist to hold me, rather than me trying to force my hand on time. I do my practice and nourish my soul with breath, prayer, family, and quiet time. And that is all there is for now. Teaching, listening, breathing, and waiting.
Perhaps you are feeling this in your life as well.
So until "right timing" happens, let's keep practicing together online. Let's continue to gather over the ethers. Let's enjoy what each day brings in whatever way we can. Let's count our blessings, because they are MANY.
We can practice together Tuesday/Thursday morning on Facebook, Wednesdays at noon for meditation on the Psalms, and Friday at 4pm through Waking Giants. Take class any time through your own portal at Chakra Savvy. Stay in touch on Instagram and Twitter. Do some self-care with my videos for you on YouTube.
So until I see you again...
May you stand in the liminal space with patience and grace.
Jessica lives, has a family, and teaches yoga in Austin, Texas.