Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Surrender, Dorothy



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."


31 comments:

francetaste said...

What a beautiful quote at the end.
On the other times, there's somebody, like in the Lorax, who comes along and chops down the tree.
I've been thinking about the angry people, and trying to understand. I understand their frustration, but I don't understand the target of their anger. They are chasing the wrong demons.
I thought about those people in France, and why do things feel differently from people at the bottom here? As I dug into it, I found a lot of good reasons. Universal health care, lots of help for families and a minimum wage that is a livable wage. The numbers are there. If you still believe in numbers.

Heather Robinson said...

Your post is really, really fabulous and I love that it looks as though we are reading each other at the exact same time.

For anyone that isn't already a reader:
https://francetaste.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/let-them-eat-cake

Joan McKniff said...

maybe too much information, but am inspired, or maybe need, to share. last week at an only positive talk lunch with a dear friend, a sister retired US Diplomat, with dessert I had a TIA. Now home from the hospital, about to have a wi-fi heart monitor inserted in my chest, I was listening, more than watching, my old favorite Lilias, Yoga and You this morning. Breathing with her was my pace, listening to her familiar, positive voice my pleasure.

Katherine said...

It's a difficult, frustrating time. It's good to hear about grounding, and breathing, and trees with solid Trunks. And yet the sense of helplessness, even while resisting as hard as we can, is palpable and frightening. To my disappointment, my tears are just beneath the surface always now. I know we can't give in to despair, but it's all very new and I guess many of us shoukd follow your lead and practice yoga.

Julie Bresette said...

Surrender really is the purest form of trust. For me it is scary,but ultimately necessary. Stay lovely.

robin said...

Wow - this post is crackling with synchronicities! Joan doesn't know this, but our hippy mom's yoga teacher was, in fact, Lilias! And Thich Naht Hanh - the bomb, plus, tree pose, right? Also I'm giving a talk in a few weeks - my topic? Acceptance. (similar to surrender, non?). Plus, perfectionism? Hel-LOH!! But just re-read, "what if I surrender to what is truest in me?". Yes, acceptance, surrender, being okay with your feelings and fears, all of it. It IS really hard over here - the "new normal" is almost unbearable. But loving acceptance of one's self is a start; acknowledging feelings/fears is a start, putting something beautiful out into the world - even better! Namaste, Sister - love you!

Joan McKniff said...

Amazing and wonderful. And yes re all of the above; working on accepting these health challenges, not panicking, not making things worse. Namaste

Unknown said...

One breath at a time.
Ali

Jackie Clark Mancuso said...

Surrender, trust, acceptance. Here’s to all of us!

Saw this on IG today,
“Inhale, Courage
Exhale, Fear"

Kauai to Paris said...

Smiling here .. smiling as I witness a flower opening effortlessly to the sunshine. First, a powerful, focused surge as the Rocket burst through invisible barriers .. and now this .. yeah, I'm definitely smiling here. Congratulations!

B

Ellie's friend from canada said...

How are you, Joan? We don't know each other but I wish you a speedy recovery from the TIA and lucky to have a souped up heart! Best Wishes

Joan McKniff said...

Thank you very much. Early days, just home from hospital four days, but far more cautiously optimistic than a week ago. And breathing ommm, not panicing, thanks in part to your and other's good wishes and feeling of connection.

Heather Robinson said...

Joan, I am truly sorry to read of your TIA. You have had more than your fair share of health challenges as of late and I truly wish that it wasn't so. You are such a beautiful woman and a brave spirit. I am sending you so much Love and you will be in my prayers (what they are). Is there anything else that I can do?

And yes, as you read in my Sister's comment, Lilias was my Mom's teacher. Isn't that something? Yet another link to connect us.

Om, Shanti, Shanti. Peace, peace, peace.

Mary said...

You always inspire me, Heather. Thank you for the reminder to breathe:) xo

simpleimages2 said...

Surrender,first, to find the true self.it's not easy but necessary.

Joan McKniff said...

Thank you so very much. I was so fortunately healthy for decades in very challenging places/work; I try to remember that now. Om.

Clare M said...

I've been doing yoga with Adriene too! She's wonderful. Thank you for the reminder to follow my own intuition and let my body guide me xxx

La Petite Gallery said...

Oh I have never done that. I would never recoup.
My 80 year old bones would break. Happy Valentines yvonne

Heather Robinson said...

Please don't be hard on yourself about your tears or near tears, my lovely friend. Awareness is good but compassion too. :)
xoxxo

Heather Robinson said...

Scary, it is. Thank you for your kindness, Julie.

Heather Robinson said...

I love you so much, Sister. You inspire me.

Heather Robinson said...

Exactly, Ali. One breath, one hour, one day...

Heather Robinson said...

That is amazing, Jackie. I love it.

Heather Robinson said...

I don't know Bill. But I am grateful that you do.
Mahalo
H

Heather Robinson said...

Gosh, I am so glad to hear that Mary. xo

Heather Robinson said...

I agree, Edgar. Thinking of you and hoping your recovery is coming along.

Heather Robinson said...

Oh yay! I am so happy to have found her. She has really shifted how I approach my practice in such a positive way. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Of course you could, Yvonne! Yoga is meant to be accessible to everyone, it just has to be done at the level that feels good. If you tilt your left ear over your left shoulder while breathing really mindfully? That is yoga! :)

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

I know very little about yoga because I never practised, but the last word you always write "namaste" its exactly like the greek word that means "here we are", so this is a good omen!

Patricia said...

Namaste, Heather.

Katherine said...

Thanks, petal. Xox