Walking the Yard

Yesterday I taught my 6 AM yoga class, lifted weights with Tim at the gym, spent an hour with Holosync. Then I took a 30 minute killer Spin class with Amy, ate lunch, did some housework while listening to the This American Life podcast, showered, and taught my 5:30 yoga class.

This morning I put on some Cat Stevens and yoga-ed into this blue, beachy-feeling morning, and now I am heading out to run steps or hike up the killer hill in order to break my Mandatory Sweat of The Day before my noon class in Wellsboro.

Life feels full and good and sweet.

It is high summer and the daisies are blooming wild in the fields.  This weekend there is a Growers Market and on Sunday I will spend some time in Ithaca reconnecting with my dear friend Zee.

As I write this, Mojito mint is blooming in a planter on the deck, alongside two kinds of parsley.  The tomato plants have baby tomatoes on them, and the pepper plants have baby peppers, too.

In the evening, after dinner, we “Walk the Yard.”  “Walking the Yard” gives me a chance to check on things and to tell them how much I appreciate and love them: the day lilies, the sweet woodruff, the purple hosta flowers, the soft pinkness of the sky after the sun has set.

Walking the Yard at day’s end is a lullaby, a soft sigh, a fitting end to a perfect summer day.

Losing It, And Getting It Back

Yesterday morning, in prep for my ‘Krashtanga” class I did the Primary Series.  Halfway through the standing sequence I realized that I had lost it.  I had lost my practice.

After so many months practicing Ashtanga with Christine 4 mornings a week, this past May I was finally able to grab my toe in Ardha Baddha Padmotanasana, rest my chin on my knee in Marichyasana A, and even sustain a straight legged Padahastasana.

But now, after only 2 measly months of no Ashtanga, I couldn’t do any of it. Or barely.

And I wanted to cry.  I felt like I had let myself down.

I dragged myself home, sat in the hot tub and made a little vow that I would get it back.  I would devote some time every day to the Primary Series until I could do the whole thing, if not perfectly, at least respectably.

When I went to class last night I told my class about my lost practice.  I told them how hard this practice was, but that with time and attention and discipline, it could be done..

Then we began.  It was hot and I was relentless.  We did vinyasas between each side of every pose.  Everyone was sweating, but hanging with it. At some point in the practice everyone of us fell over, including me, but I could sense a teeth-gritting persistence in that (very warm) room.

When we got to the last pose,Tolasana, we did Kapalabhati until our arms and our lungs gave out, then we all sank into a deep, heart-thumping savasana.

After class, a few people wanted to know if we could do this more often, maybe get together and work towards greater proficiency.  They loved it, they said.

So that’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to work towards mastery in something that’s really, really hard.

Because what else is there to do?

The Zap

I just got finished reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.  Nothing new in this book in terms of content, but what clarity!

Now, I am an avid reader of spirituality books. I’m a  big fan of Krishnamurti and Eckhart Tolle, for instance, but there is always something opaque in these books for me; something key that I seem to get while I’m reading, but if you asked me to explain it to you five minutes after I put the book down, I really couldn’t.  I’d be blithering some confused nonsense and just wind up handing you the book with a, “Here, read it for yourself.”

That’s why this Mickey Singer book was such a rare and yummy find for me because he tells stories and uses metaphors to explain complicated concepts like fear, but in a fresh, alive way that allowed me to get it, and then be able to share it with others.

(I love that.)

For example, he tells this story about a dog. A dog who lives in a fenced-in yard.  The dog knows the limits of his freedom.  The limit is the fence.

Then one day the dog’s owner puts in an electric fence.  The dog is outfitted with a special collar and the old fence is taken down.  The dog goes out into the fence-less yard and takes off, but is immediately zapped by the collar.  Whoah.

But each day this brave dog inches closer to the zap point and begins to realize that even though he’s getting a little bit zapped, he’s still alive.  Then one day he just braves the full frontal ZAP! charges through, and is free forever!

Mickey Singer says this is what fear is.  It’s fear of getting zapped.  We all live inside the electric fence, afraid of the zap. The zap can be fear of anything: failure, ridicule, you name it, whatever  keeps us safe (and boring and trapped) in the yard.

But if we want to be free, we have to be willing to take the ZAP.  It won’t kill us to fail or be laughed at.

And the payoff?

Our complete and utter freedom.

I think this is very cool.