I was reading a magazine today and came across the bio of the author: ‘she balances being senior editor with yoga and teaching’, or something of the kind. I have read so many such bios, and written such bios of myself. Somehow today it made me pause: the word, ‘Balance’. We are always balancing. We are juggling so many things in life, and learning to balance on the ice, without letting it all drop. We lose our balance a lot – and that’s partly how we learn which direction we have to lean again – to regain our balance.
This month has been a lot about this lesson of balance for me. After a packed few months of so many events – birthdays, Diwali, Halloween, and work and doing too many things, my body took a pause. I had a really bad cold and it lasted for about 10 days. It forced me to get a lot of rest, less of talking, less of doing, and more of surrender. It was a reminder that we can’t always do things simply by force of will. The heart needs to follow. And as the beautiful poem by Daniel Mead, pasted on the door of my room reminds me, ‘a flower cannot be opened by a hammer’.
I had taken up swim lessons and confronting my deep fears from nearly drowning once. Watching Anji had inspired me and I was determined to ‘do it!’ this time. My body did not feel the same way. I have managed to attend classes once a week instead of two – and have had a lot of pain in left arm from possibly over-rotating. And then I couldn’t go, because I got sick. Maybe group lessons are not for me. I have also realized that maybe no push is needed.. Maybe the only deadline is my own. Maybe it will all happen in good time. Maybe I don’t need to ‘swim’ by tomorrow!
I had also resolved in the beginning of November, to commit to a more regular yoga practice. This has also been really powerful. It has also brought many questions into my attention. What modifications can I offer myself when I am sick? Can I be kind? Can I redefine success? I have not been on my yoga mat everyday, but my resolution has been successful nevertheless. I have come to yoga more often, and that has been super. I also found that since I had committed to only 5 poses, that was simple to practice and I didn’t always need to dedicate 45 minutes to an hour to practice. Sometimes 20 minutes was plenty. I also found that I had to bring mindfulness to how much I wanted to do each day, where my body was, and which poses. It has been a creative exercise as well as one of bringing attention. I have done poses I haven’t in a long time. I have also just showed up and done legs up the wall pose. My body leading the way has made me happier. And realizing that there is nobody else judging this but myself has been liberating, as always. I can be softer, kinder and when I do, I miraculously bring this into my life.
As Rumi says, ‘let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground’. May all our paths lead to more ways of discovering this…
Peace to you and happy thanksgiving!