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Monday, December 28, 2009

Aching for Asana

My body is aching for asana. 

An ache has literal and figuratve meanings as does asana; this is poetry.  The ache in my side reflects the ache in my heart;  while the asanas, physical poses, embody an ancient wisdom that reaches deep beyond the body.  

I was thinking about this idea of aching for asana” and began to wonder how deep the ache went.  My mind, for its own reasons, tuned into the movies, Fame and Flashdance. Memories of being a teenager, aching to act and work toward fulfilling that dream like Jennifer Beals’ character did in the movie, brought up the ancient ache of my youth.  Yearning to flourish in this demanding field was a definite identity marker.

My whole young adulthood was centered around this idea of my professional future.  When it became clear that this was no longer my dream, I felt a little lost and a new ache surfaced.  This was a beautiful example of the porous nature of identity and how easy it is to get stuck in our ideas of ourselves.  It was a time of soul searching and questioning and learning to be still, all of which ached & reappear as needed.  

This new ache was different.  This was not the ache of an unfulfilled dream, it was an aimless ache with no origin or goal.  None of these aches fully defined myself, nor did they permeate my daily life adversely.  But they were felt.  

As my children are growing and time is opening up creating new space, I am again  looking into a hazy future.  This time, however, I have an inner advantage.  When I’m on the mat or cushion (which I recently dusted off), the fog has more clear patches that keep widening and the questions seem less daunting.  My existential aches are more like growing pains than crises.

I don't know what this increasing clarity will reveal, but am confident that there is something special awaiting discovery.  The now subtler ache for what's to come is now a gentle reminder to first take notice and then move into action.

Writing these thoughts down, knowing they are not unique and that someone out there is nodding her or his head in understanding, is a beautiful reminder that we are all connected.  There is a calm in knowing I’m part of a human network of people all going through this life with the set of tools we’ve acquired along the way and that, for the most part, we are not so different.

With the new year approaching, the atmosphere is filled with resolutions, goals and good intentions for this arbitrary fresh start.  I have found myself overwhelmed by the weight of this energy, so I choose to take my fresh starts as they become necessary, whenever that may be.  

My very first teacher once told me, face to face in the doorway of the studio, “You have unlimited do-overs.”  (I hope you’re reading this now and know who you are.)  Those words open up doors of forgiveness & possibility any time of year.

It is magical to watch how the seeds sown at different stages, take root and often blossom in surprising ways and at interesting times.  This is a thank you to all the teachers, on and off the mat, whose positive marks have been made both indelible & temporary.  I think there might be something alive in that paradox.

I have not been completely without practicing.  There have been a few tentative downward dogs and some limited stretching on the floor.  Still unable to flow I count on my breath.   While my body still aches (physically to heal and spiritually to practice) and is eager to re-enter the world of regular asana practice, I am grateful to have this forced time to expand and further probe the inner workings.  

The ache is now a dull echo, heard and felt, but essential and light.

To ride the wave of the last post about toasting, I again raise my glass and repeat a toast my father sometimes says and that is:  "May your present happy days be your future sad ones."  

Make some beautiful memories and laugh a lot!
Happy New Year! 
Love & Peace 2010! 


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