Thursday, November 24, 2011

Overwhelmed...with Gratitude

thanksgiving turkey
Originally uploaded by PDX Pipeline
American Thanksgiving seems a fitting day as any to resurrect my blog. It is Etats Unis' terroir holiday after all, and well, I did do a lot of yoga.

What have I been up to the last two months?

Oh, doing my thing here and there in Paris, with a brief stint in NorCal and upstate NY, living my practice down to its rawest truth and having no desire to write about it.
Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes the words need to be drowned out by subtle vibrations and soft breath.

That's what I've been up to.

14 years is long; much of my adult life and certainly all the consciously aware parts of it. One does not move on from a heartbreak so deep in any linear amount of time. Grief doesn't work that way. It doesn't even ebb and flow.
No, it's sharper and more jarring than that.
It pierces into the soft, vulnerable spots and pushes out the tears, often in the most inconvenient times.

"When your first guruji is furry and four-legged, no other name will do."

She taught me about life by demanding I love well, everyday. Her love was abundant, undeniable and that was her expectation of me. But you can't truly know life until you've experienced death. Like any good teacher, she guided me directly into the greatest fear and challenged me to see the beauty in the ugly. No filters. No buffer zone.
Therefore, she completed her life's duty by teaching me all I really need to know.

I graduated from the school of Oyenti, the Aztec Warrior Princess.

Now, what will I do with this precious degree?

Release, Receptivity, and Resurrection
I've been living life and death on my mat pretty much everyday since.
When you experience your practice to the rawest, it's not all butterflies and roses flying out of your heart in every back bend.
No, letting go is hard.

Until it's not.

When your daily yoga routine becomes a practice of dying a little to live a whole lot more, then you're home.

The acceptance of change. The opening to new and beautiful possibilities.
The emptying out of what is no longer. The making space for what is. Now.

That's what I've been up to.

"La gratitude est la mémoire du coeur"
Yet, big shifts don't happen without a good dose of overwhelm from time to time (everyday).
The wave of overwhelm crashes when I lose faith of my ability to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I lose my balance; my equanimity. When change is compounding in such a way that what's coming seems too good or bad to be true, rather than exactly what it's meant to be.

In an important moment in the very near past, Dr. Kumar told me, "The Universe never intends to overwhelm. The ongoing feeling of overwhelm will block prosperity; abundance. The antidote to overwhelm is gratitude. Remember to wake up every morning with gratitude, no matter what."

Waking up every morning, taking a long, deep breath, and being grateful for the first three things that come to mind.

That's what I've been up to.

And, so today I choose to be Overwhelmed with Gratitude. I think my furry guruji would approve.

Happy Thanksgiving to all near and far from a grateful American expat yoga teacher still seeking (and occasionally finding) the flow in France. Missing being with my family and friends and celebrating the one holiday whose sacredness most Americans can all agree, on which most take a long, peaceful pause to feel abundant, no matter what.

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart."
~Jean Baptiste Massieu