Just a few weeks ago New York Daily News came out with a headline that read “God Isn’t Fixing This” as a call to action regarding the current state of the planet regarding _______ (insert issue of your choice here: gun control, terrorism, global warming, managing your debt and your weight and the laundry). And while I understand that I can’t sit on a mountain and just…. PRAY.... as a means of getting the laundry done, I cannot comprehend how we are going to figure things out here without God.
Personally, I have tried navigating the challenges in my life using one of two said methods in the past (Method 1: Invoking God’s Help and Method 2: Denying God’s Help). To me, this is what the ancient texts mean by “freewill” -- that we have the choice to either ask for guidance or to try to fumble along on our own.
Method 1 goes a little something like this: every day, I wake up with renewed faith in the Map-Maker (Hey, God. I just woke up and -- surprise -- I am still alive today! Thanks for that. I guess you still need me here, sooooo here I am. Let’s do this), the One who knows exactly why I am in these crazzzy jungles of time and space, where I’m going and what I’m to do.
And because I trust the Map-Maker (metaphor thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert's amazing Super Soul Session speech), I open up the map -- I move through the day paying close attention to the land-marks and guideposts and quiet messages that are sent in order to help me navigate this bumpy Earth plane. I understand, though, that God’s map is a mysterious one. It consists of tiny little breadcrumbs that come to me in a coincidental meeting, a gut feeling, a persistent friend. But since I see my life as a Spiritual Journey guided by Love, and I am open to the ever elusive map, I activate my Spiritual Superpowers, the landmarks appear, and, like the Red Sea, the path opens before me.
If we read the Christmas story with this in mind, it’s clear that these little God whispers were exactly the means through which Mary and Joseph navigated their journey through darkness: the star, the angels, the wise men -- all Biblical breadcrumbs! And while I believe that God's breadcrumbs are always there, it's the getting on my knees and asking for the ability to see them -- the energy of humility that Mary embodied so beautifully -- that makes them appear more clearly.
If I think back to the dark times in my life when I fell to my knees and yelled “HELP!”, I always felt heard and answered and guided. During the darkness of miscarriage, I heard a voice saying “It’s okay, Mom. It’s not my time yet. I’ll be back” and sure as shooting, she arrived once again. After about 14 sour online dates, I felt an urge to cancel my membership and follow some breadcrumbs to Uganda and - BOOM - Shawn appeared. Even my friend Charles who spend most of his life in Ugandan war-time told me, to my disbelief, that in the midst of a debilitating civil war, where he witnessed his family slaughtered and was abducted as a child soldier, he heardthe voice, one that led him to freedom and kept him alive. I've learned that it's in the act of falling and crying out that we push the "on" button for miracles to appear.
And God, like the loving parent that He is, isn’t pushy. He backs off when we ask Him to, but when we get down on our knees and say uncle, He comes forth with a team of angels and Universe friends and one million divine coincidences immediately. You see, Method 1 is pretty amazing when we remember to activate our Divine Superpowers.
Method 2, on the other hand, is like navigating the back woods with no map and no guidance. It’s stumbling through prickly blackberry bushes, trying to use our human pea brains to figure out if we’ve just made a big circle and that river is the one we just crossed an hour ago (sh*t!). It’s rigid and stumbly and awkward. It’s hard and it’s frustrating. But, through the Grace of God, we don’t have to manage the jungle alone and that's the message that Jesus came to deliver. We’ve been given a map and breadcrumbs and Universe friends and angel navigators (so many angel navigators!).
So while I know my limitations -- that I alone can’t end terrorism and that I don’t really understand why I’m here yet, and that, as hard as I try not to, I am still a jackass sometimes -- I also know that by invoking this guidance, I am somehow better. There is a great wind at my back that makes it a little easier to use my words in order to lift others up instead of gossip about them, to say no to just one more Christmas cookie, to speak out for what's good.
When we come to the yoga mat this week, we will celebrate the meaning of Christmas in all of its fullness: that by getting on our knees and asking God to come to us, we are heard and our prayers are answered. Christmas asks us to believe in God's Goodness that comes as a direct response to our prayerful humility, and our practice will work to help us remember how to do just that.
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother