We have our special rituals, places where we stop, get out of the car, take great gulps of fresh air, reach up our arms and smile. Looking down that coast at cliffs, ocean, clouds, perhaps a condor or two, we experience the involuntary ahhhh of the exhale and mmmmmm of the inhale. If we're returning at night, there's nothing like that moment of looking up, throat open, wonder streaming down, as we gaze at the abundance of twinkling stars in the heavens welcoming us home.
Right now I feel like I'm in a state of grace. So this is what a week-long yoga retreat (in the jungles of Mexico) does to the soul. Four hours per day of yoga and meditation. Further enriched by connecting with our amazing teachers and with all of the wise and funny students, while enjoying delicious vegetarian meals. Now back home, all I really want to do is curl up in the sun, like one of my cats, and breathe.
From time to time I'll gaze out at the world from behind my fur, in great peace. I want to lazily watch the hummingbirds while listening to the breezes in the trees. Life has become one long shivasana (resting pose) interrupted by all the running around (work-errands-classes-relationships) that I have to do to keep it going.
One of the great gifts that guided introspection in a formal setting brings is the undeniable, undiluted fact that the answers to your life's questions can be found inside you. This is both blessing (ah, so simple!) and curse (good lord, look how I'm everywhere but there!) Yoga and meditation are tools for listening to one's higher self. Living in natural beauty (or consciously appreciating it wherever you are) helps, too. Breath, movement and nature are all teachers, it's just that really showing up for class is still hard.
Last night I admired the constellations of Sirius and Orion chasing the moon in the western sky. A silver column of moonlight stretched across the sea to the bathtub in my garden, and I thought, well, here I am. Perhaps all my questions, worries, regrets, even my great joys, don't really matter. Maybe even the "answers" aren't so important. What matters is having a life. And for me I'd add this to the recipe: sharing this journey with my fellow spiritual travelers.
Shivasana on the mountain, anyone?
Photos by Linda Sonrisa