I watched a pine tree branch swaying in the wind. It was pointing upward and looked like it was trying very hard to stretch toward the sun (spring in Maine can make one very poetic).
It was only when the wind blew the branch that it sunk down, into the shade, and then whipped up higher toward the sun; much higher than it did when it looked like it was working so hard. It blew around wildly with the gusts; bouncing, a little out of control at times—but it remained connected to the trunk, the roots, the ground.
[Insert 372 metaphors HERE] :)
Life is a lot of reaching/stretching for the light and this effort takes hard work. It IS possible to live AND serve others within this monumental work/effort WITHOUT feeling rushed or hurried or stressed or exhausted: EVEN to predominantly feel a lot of joy. It really is; even if you have 3 jobs, 3 kids, yadda, yadda. One trick to feeling that true joy is being willing to open your heart; which means being willing to feel hurt, sad, lonely…
If you can really just let an uncomfortable feeling BE; let it wash over you; NOT try and relieve or escape of “fix” it or talk through it; you may be surprised to find that the pain, the hurt, the sadness…changes. It can shift and grow into hope and love. Feelings come and go like waves and no feeling lasts forever. There’s no such thing as a “happy” person. Happy is a feeling. A loving, vibrant person who is OFTEN joyful can only be so if they TRULY feel the deep despair and sadness that is a part of this broken world.
Yoga, or really just deep focused breathing (which is essentially what yoga is), is pretty good for facilitating this process. Like REALLY good. You stay still, you pause a lot… even if you’re moving a little, you’re in one spot, and YOU’RE QUIET! You don’t walk away or start talking or distract yourself with some other chore/task/snack/etc. You breathe THROUGH the challenge; the challenging feeling, and also THROUGH the challenging physical sensations that can come with simply sitting still and quiet (or holding a pose/stretch).
I’ve known this…I’ve shared this lesson for years with patients…I even did my doctoral research project on exercise and depression! But when you REALLY practice this process; the more surprising, inspiring and energizing it becomes! I give a LOT of lip service to the mind-body connection, but it is so good to be personally reminded that breathing and simple movement can literally cue our hearts and minds to open. Emotional and physical exhaustion CAN become emotional and physical REFRESHMENT!
I recently participated in a Yogathon to support Sea Change Yoga Maine, an organization that seeks to bring yoga to marginalized individuals. When I heard of this organization I immediately felt SUCH a strong connection to their mission. Of course there are about a million+ wonderful causes/non-profits/organizations well worth supporting but it is pretty special and exciting to find one that really just speaks to your professional and personal experience. The Yogathon included four classes taught by some unbelievably inspired teachers. I was open to being a student (so important to remind yourself to do when you serve as a teacher/leader/healer/caregiver). The last class was a “full body prayer” taught by Jacqui Bonwell. While I’ve heard of (and try to practice!) praying with your actions (e.g. cleaning & cooking with love!) I was so inspired by the idea of using your whole body to pray! Have you ever tried this?
I’m making efforts to meet people/get out of my comfort zone (especially socially) and start really connecting with others. Attending the Yogathon was part of this effort and also part of my effort to market my new biz, Atlantic Family Health. But it was also about a lot of personal connections to the cause. Before the event I was inspired to write a sonnet about health, art and movement. The night before the Yogathon I thought, WHAT THE HECK! I’m printing up this sonnet to give out to people tomorrow (with contact info/blurb on the back)!
Sonnets are a good form of marketing for our modern era, right?!
Immersed in the Yogathon; sweating, crying; I felt this awful deep pain and sadness and I breathed.
And like the tide coming in, I was filled with the most hopeful hope and love.
And in between all of this, I approached the teachers and said, “I wrote a poem inspired by this event/organization” and gave it to them.
And I thought,
“This might be the weirdest form of marketing ever to occur.”
But I LOVE myself for writing sonnets and being awkward!! This is the sweet spot, that authenticity that people (including me!!!) advocate! Finding this sweet spot is not always as simple/easy as it sounds when you are getting outside of your comfort zone and trying something new, or approaching something familiar in a new way! So what do you think? An hour (or four? haha!) of deep breathing and stretching may be all you need to learn about yourself/love yourself a little more and find your sweet spot! Highly recommended!
If you are interested in learning more about Sea Change Yoga Maine, click here to check out their website.
I am fundraising for this cause through the end of this month (April), so if you’re inspired, please…
Thank you so much for reading/visiting!!