How often are we/you/I moving through life lost in the fog? Moving on autopilot, in the complex pulse of the world, feeling distracted, disconnected, and off beat? I will speak for myself, it is quite often I can feel lost in the mix, the to-dos, the shuffle. So often that I see that yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda truly have saved my life in the sense that through their offerings I have become more available, present, and awake in this world and in my own heart.
Practice offers space that welcomes active and full movement followed by periods of long, deep stillness. If we allow for the quiet, the pause, we can witness the opportunity to move into greater relationship with life and the way in which its energy is moving through us and all around us at all times. In every breath there is a call, a seduction, a whisper, willingly inviting us to wake up to life and its beauty. But, too often we are too deep on the path of the treadmill way of being to listen, feel, hear, and acknowledge. Through mindfulness, through practice, through conscious movement and ways of being, we can choose to become more awake, present, and gracious of this one amazing life we are living.
“In the cultivation of belonging to your pleasure and well-being, gratefulness is the sun around which all other practices resolve. When you are genuinely attentive to life, gratefulness is the inevitable reply to all the things conspiring to endow you with their beauty and intricate genius. By showing up for the generosity of life, even in its left-handed forms, we are declaring our worthiness to it. When we allow the privilege of being alive to really penetrate us, we are participating in the holy moment of life’s becoming. Gratefulness is the recognition of our belonging to that dance.” – Toko-Pa Turner, Belonging
Last weekend I was riding shotgun in a rental car with two dear friends. We were on our way to a Florida beach to allow our winter feet to feel the sand again and our skin to absorb the sun. In the car I was everywhere but right there. I was thinking of the beach, thinking of my family, thinking of the song that had just played on the radio, and in and out of conversations. Intentionally trying not to focus on the strip mall scenery that we were driving past. Amidst my ping pong mind, my friend slowed down the car and said in proclamation “oh, isn’t that just stunning… gorgeous!” I looked around, all I saw were more strip malls, chain linked fences, and traffic. I thought he was joking. But, after not moving the car and continuing to stare with admiration out the window I realized he was actually serious. Curious what he was seeing that I wasn’t, I looked again. “A fully draped and dressed water tower,” he said. Off to my right I saw a water tower that was getting a new paint job. Truth: I had never seen one before. Truth: it was actually quite stunning to see the long drapes. And truth: I would have never taken the time to stop, admire, and reframe it as “being dressed.” This ordinary moment driving through the mundane was shape shifted for me by his willingness to see the beauty, the art, the splendid in this simple act. He was willing to “allow the privilege of being alive to really penetrate” his sense of presence, fully open to possibility, beauty, and admiration for life here on this earth. As Toko-Pa so well stated above, “Gratefulness is the inevitable reply to all the things conspiring to endow you with their beauty and intricate genius.” Toko-Pa states it beautifully, “As we pay respectful gratitude for the jewels of beauty strewn throughout a day, pleasure begins to reach and flow through us.”
We are constantly being called to experience this life and all its bold, subtle, stunning, plain variations. How we experience it is up to us, the thoughts we hold, what we choose to believe as truth, the actions we take, the love we welcome, and the love we share. Can we be bold enough to stop the treadmill and get off to smell the flowers, look a child in the eyes and hear their wild story, help an elder walk across the icy drive, witness a flower blooming, or drink in the rise of the full moon.
All of the offerings at Lila this month have a way to call us deeper into awake living, deeper into practice both on and off our mats. Train with us, move with us, call in presence with us. Together we can create a more conscious and clear way of being.