This year as I watched with glee the popcorn popping on the trees, Spring surprised me in a new way. I found myself utterly delighted with the shifting Spring weather . . . the rain, the sun, the wind, the snow, the warmth, the cold. I loved the way Spring said ‘wake up! Here is your surprise for the day.’ An invitation to step into the unknown, to connect with the ebb and flow of life.
As Spring was being itself, I was deep in my chakra workshops, opening new spaces, fresh truths. I became very aware that my work was in finding new ways to use my voice, accept my power, embrace new confidence, to surrender. What was yet to be revealed was how that was to come about. What was yet to be revealed was how Spring was to be my teacher.
Just like the fluid Spring weather, my work began to take on the same uncertainty. This was both on and off my mat. One day connected and moving with ease, the next wobbly, winds taking me from my center. I thought I was going in one direction - sun, awareness - and on the horizon something new –a bit of rain, dark and luminous clouds. Surprises at each corner. Rather than being delighted, I found myself opposing the fluidity. The weather patterns of my life, the unpredictability, brought up fear. The unknown so daunting, expectations arose about how I wanted to be surprised.
In wanting our practice, our life, our work to be exactly as we have decided it should be, the surprise meant to awaken and delight us is lost. Happy and content only if things are exactly as we desire them to be, we miss the surprise. There is no place for revealing, no place to be delighted. Yoga teaches us that our practice, our life, our work should be steady and with ease - sthira-sukham asanam. A beautiful middle where there is no either/or but rather a place of
and. A place where we can be with the fluctuations, the uncertainty, with calm and ease. A place we can move beyond our controlling and allow an unfolding. A place to remember who we are and be courageous and vulnerable with life as it is.
When our life, our practice only has sthira - only effort – we find ourselves fighting life, demanding that the world follow our orders, our direction –
no clouds and wind today we say! In that place think we know best and are trying to manage all moments. In life, we resist reality, on our mat we begin to force our asana. In the same vein, if we hold only sukham – too much ease - we become halfhearted, even complacent –
oh well, another day of rain! – and miss making full contact with the gift of the moment. We move through life with a sense that ‘our self’ is at the mercy of the world. Our voice diminished, our sense of power non-existent, no room to be surprised. In life we avoid, on our mat we are not engaged.
I found myself, mid-Spring, fighting the internal weather patterns – resisting, avoiding, forcing, disengaged. Determined. I drew a line in the sand. Under the guise of finding my voice, owning my power, being confident, I declared loudly that I would not be going to the dentist in April. No matter what. That posturing led to no delight, refusal of the surprise. The declaration was made with rebelliousness, eyes closed to the fluidity, pretending not to see what was right in front of me.
Despite my defiance, Spring persisted in her invitation into the unknown, continued to invite me to open to be surprised and delighted. I witnessed her ability to be free and unattached. Her perseverance led me to a miraculous place. My rebelliousness, my fear, began to soften and a new unexpected weather pattern arose. Imagine my surprise – me in the dentist chair in April!
There I experienced the rain – tears flowing –
and a place to feel grounded;
the clouds – ignorance, misperception –
and acceptance, the truth to be revealed;
the winds – fears in many forms –
and a place of support to be with the moment as it was; the sun – clarity, awareness –
and my ability to embrace my power, my strength.
As the fluctuations moved around me I was able to be present, making choices from that strong center. I felt empowered through surrender and open to the vulnerability that presence brings. Being in both effort and ease, I found my voice in the most confident way. I embraced my power and my lack of faith diminished. I let go, surrendered into the unknown fluctuations that I had been so desperately fearing, desperately fighting and a profound, deep, perfect peace arose. In that moment the ground had me and the ease held me. The beautiful Spring rise and fall were me.
When we embrace Spring, bring sthira-sukham to our everyday practice, on and off the mat, the ground becomes steady and yet malleable. In that place we are stable and comfortable in the moment, courageous and gentle, strong and open. There we can be surprised and possibly even delighted by life. This became my practice – in the dentist chair and beyond - this potent place of
Springs grand invitation.
There all things can be . . .
I welcome the rain
and give myself room to slow, to cry, to draw inward. I embrace the winds
and allow the wobbliness so I may find my deepest center. I stand powerfully
and allow the experience to move through me rather than me moving the experience. I welcome the sun
and let it show me my brightness. I realize my hope of freedom
and joy arises from my willingness to be fully engaged
and alive in the moments with ease.
And the entirety of the experience becomes Surrender.