This morning I finished a 31-day yoga challenge lead by the lovely, funny Adriene of Yoga with Adriene. She calls this series Revolution. For this final practice, she turned off her microphone and simply did the yoga, accompanied by some rather wonderful music and occasionally, her dog Benji.
As she raised her arms towards the sun, I felt quiet in my certainty of what was next. But as the practice advanced into unscripted territory, tiny squeaks of panic starting popping in my chest, those along the variety of, "Wait, no one is going to tell me what to do?" I tried to match her as best as I could. My neck started to ache as I strained to find her movements on my computer screen, even though I knew instinctively that was going against the grain of what yoga is all about. But that old voice, that is so strong as to be a thrumming drive, kept pushing me on to "do it right." Follow. And perfectly.
It took a lightening like twinge near my spine punctuated by a short gasp for me to realize what I was putting myself through. I had to stop doing her yoga and start doing my own. It didn't matter in the least if we were doing the same thing. It was up to me to trust in myself now. That was the final gift of this particular revolution.
I let go.
My breath returned because it is faithful. It is a patient teacher, offering lessons...about impermanence, attachment, grasping or when I am caught in a trance...if only I listen. My body followed instinctively. In the midst of the two reuniting, tears arose. There is still much sadness in me over recent and current events.
I let them fall and kept going, letting every moment be exactly what it needed to without trying to mold or shape it beyond what the form of the poses required. Some of them, such as Downward-Facing Dog, I have been doing since I was about my five, as my Mom, then a hippie yoga teacher, stood above me on the lawn, smiling. My body remembers, it knows the truth, except when I lie to it repeatedly or get it drunk on fear. I got out of my way. I let it move.
At the end of the practice, vibrating with energy, I bowed my head in Namaste...the light in me honors the light in you...and I had a glimpse of a certain understanding.
The word "surrender" has been following me around for the past two weeks or so, popping up unexpectedly and insistently. I have been chewing on it, nervously. What could it possibly really mean? It is a word that sounds so passive at best and so denigrating in its extremes.
But what if I choose to surrender to what is truest in me? Then the word becomes very active as I turn away, past the noise and dive in and in. This is what we are doing now, many of us. We are being guided by our Highest Self and that my friends, is Love.
Last week I was so ashamed. That was an old surrender, wasn't it? This week I am grateful and am growing in determination. That, I know with a big inhale and exhale, is the new. On we go, finding our own direction as watching, then copying, will not work anymore. Heart, body and minds together.
"Picture a tree in a storm. At the top of the tree, the small branches and leaves are swaying violently in the wind. The tree looks vulnerable, quite fragile - it seems it can break at any time. But if you look at the trunk, you will see that the tree is solid; and if you look down to its root structure, you will know that the tree is deeply and firmly rooted in the soil. The tree is quite strong. It can resist the storm."