Friday, March 11, 2016

Mother of Invention: My Daily Gratitude

Invent. Reinvent. Carve out. Sculpt. Create. 

A teacher told me recently that we need not to be afraid to reinvent ourselves as many times as necessary to satisfy our heart's song. As beautiful as that is, I think she said it better, but her words, the feeling, struck a chord deep inside of me. A note sounded and reverberated. There is a spot where this is still resonating. 

Originate. Bravery. 

I am not fearless--fearlessness is stupidity/immaturity to me--but I am brave. Brave for unapologetically listening for my heart's song, listening to it, letting my heart move me. I am a stubborn woman at times--unmovable, rigid, and yet, I've softened so much, moved, changed, blossomed, undulated forward toward my creative life. 

My heart's is singing it's song. Can you hear it?

I'm both humbled and proud. What a long journey this life is. How rich and strange. Full of wonderment and magic and blessings and beauty. The toil, and fear, and loss--well, it was all worth it to me. 

I have arrived. Gratitude.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bow. Hands. Eyes. (a.k.a., Pray, Eat, and Hopefully Love)

Growing up, before every meal, we prayed. We bowed our heads, pressed our hands together, and closed our eyes, while someone, usually Grandpa, said the prayer, which went something like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the food that we are about to receive and bless it to our bodies' use. In Jesus' name" and we all said, "Amen." Then we ate. 

Bow. Hands. Eyes. Gratitude. Ask for blessing. Amen. Eat. We did this over and over again, day after day. On holidays, the extended family would all gather around in a big circle and hold hands and pray. Amen. I would always get all goosebumpy when the whole family would say amen at the same time. I was taught when two or more voices are raised in prayer that God answers--it's more powerful in unison. 

The collective ask. We are all asking as one. Power to the people. Safety in numbers. We are all grateful. We are all approaching the same space with humility and love to honor, respect, and ask for blessings. The collective voice strikes a chord in my soul. We all say amen. 

It happens at yoga. In the beginning when we all sigh out our big-bellied breaths at the same time, as if we all shared one breath and are all releasing it. And again at the end of class after practice, after shavasana, when we return to seated and bow, eyes closed, hands pressed together at our hearts, and say Namaste in unison. Yoga is not a prayer to God. Yoga is not religion. I'm not comparing. Yoga is the union of body and mind, of breath and movement, of spirit and practice. Yoga is yoking, intertwining two--or more--parts together to one union. 

In a way, dinner table prayers were my first yoga. Of course, I didn't know it then. My first yoga class was in 1996 as a college-level PE class. There was no connection then of my mind and body, no connection of my breath and movement. I was just trying to do poses and learn balance. I flung and flopped my body wherever I could get it to go. I had no intention. I don't remember much about the class except for squirming throughout shavasana and being completely relieved when it was over. [Funny that now, shavasana is my favorite part--sometimes I do a few vinyasas just so I can justify another shavasana. I'm a damn fine model of the corpse pose. That's right. Look at me lying on the floor. Magnificent.] 

I finally get yoga. I finally get prayer. I'm becoming a student again. This time not one who flings limbs to land any old place, but a student of intention, a student of union, a student of yoga.