I trust what this body knows
breathing in, breathing out
the way home.
I trust the ground, which I can stand upon–
the earth that rises to meet my feet
and gives gently beneath my weight.
And I trust that ground which I cannot stand upon–
the falling away that everything returns to.
~ Oren Sofer
This week and last I am doing my final round of substitute yoga teaching at my local studio–the last because, in a month, we’ll be moving to the Pacific NorthWest!
I always try to align my yoga teaching with the cycle of the moon. In this way, our practice is about more than being flexible, or strong, or having better balance, but also about listening to and aligning with deeper, natural cosmic processes that we are part of, whether we bring our conscious awareness to them or not…
The first week of subbing was the week of the waning moon–the peak of energy at full moon past, falling toward new moon. We practiced feeling the ground with our body and breath, and inhaling this grounded energy up through the body, we also allowed it to rise to meet us, rising us up to connect with sky energy.
Throughout the practice, we continually returned to this rooted and rising awareness, connecting earth and sky in our bodies.
This week of subbing, it’s New Moon week (June 3rd)–the week of rest, and preparing the ground for new seeds to grow.
Our practice is focusing on trusting the ground that rises up to meet our bodies and not as actively rising up to the sky. We move more slowly, we spend more time on the ground, we spend more time returning and resting.
This is also the stage Dave and I are in
with our huge moving project.
The peak was a few weeks back when we loaded the truck, working with on- and off-schedule contractors to get our house ready to be staged while we were away, driving half of our Minnesota home to our new home in Washington State.
Since then, we’ve been coming down, back to ground.
Staying connected to breath and ground sustained us (among other things), and now we can consciously follow, as much as we can, the call to return to deeper ground.
We return to life-sustaining rhythms of longer morning practice time, to embodiment practices that remind us of the body’s natural intelligence, to cooking more wholesome and healing meals that nourish and sustain our animal bodies…
And, over and over again, we practice
“trust[ing] that ground which [we]
cannot stand upon–the falling away
that everything returns to.”
For us, this means continually seeing how we so humanly reach for habits to shield ourselves from the uncertainty, the unpredictability of the process.
Over and over again, we find ourselves grasping at ways to make life more predictable instead of living in the openness of not knowing–the not-knowing of how the appraisal will go, the not-knowing of how the final loading and moving will go, the not-knowing of how we will find our belonging in a new community and a new land.
Buddhist monk Pema Chodron says it this way:
“We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess of the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort.” (from Comfortable with Uncertainty, p.55)
Out of well-practiced habit, we reach for certainty!
- In the pleasure we know we’ll get from the perfect dark chocolate (me) or the perfect ale (Dave);
- In the safety we feel if we create a false sense of control by over-thinking and over-planning the way we think our move should go,
- In the comfort of weaving our old stories back together again–I’m just a One who needs a certain level of organization… or I’m just a Six who can’t stand this level of unpredictability…
When we catch these avoidance strategies, we practice, yet again, “trust[ing] that ground which [we] cannot stand upon–the falling away that everything returns to.”
That doesn’t mean we completely drop all our helpful coping habits–we’re fully human; so, sometimes, yes; sometimes, no…
But we engage them with awareness and less unconscious belief that they provide the ground of certainty.
For we know that the true certainty, the true ground
is being able to stand (and move and sit and rest)
with whatever life is bringing–with the unknowing,
with the uncertainty, and with the unpredictablity.
Here, in touch with this ground–the ground of being–we find an open, spacious freedom to respond openly and freshly to whatever happens. In each moment, we can choose to return to rest in this. Over and over again.