Every year I connect to the story of death and rebirth in a different way and, this year, I am focused on the quiet presence of the ladies in the picture -- their mild reaction to the utter and complete destruction of the best human they ever knew. Instead of rallying an army or throwing stones at His persecutors, they sit among the terrifying circumstances before them (i.e. death on a cross, rotting plant matter, still-uncomfortably chilly weather, disappointing "political leaders") and are able to see beyond what's apparent to the naked eye. In the midst of a lingering winter, these women can feel the presence of the emerging New Life that is desperately waiting to pop up from beneath the shadows. Though "they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they fear no evil."
And when the resurrected Jesus returns, he reassures all of the disciples (and now us) that the belief and hopefulness in the emergence of Go(o)d is intricately connected to its ability to Spring forth, saying "blessed are those who believe and have not seen."
To me, it feels like we are all in labor at the moment -- it's painful and wet and messy and disorderly. But oh, how beautiful that baby is who is on her way -- can you feel her presence andbelieve in her coming even though you can't see her just yet? Can you trust that through each contraction, we are one step closer to meeting our Beloved? This week we come to the mat to "be still and know that (God is working)" despite what our naked eyes can see.
I was lying in the bathtub Monday evening when Gracie, my sweet pup, fumbled her way into the bathroom and curled up in a corner. She always comes to get me when she feels a seizure coming on as if to say: "Mom, it's happening." Naked as a jay bird, I jumped out of the tub and to her side, placing my arms high in the air around her (as if to ward off the demons) as I watched her fall into a full-body trance. Instinctively, I began coaching her through it. "It's okay," I cried. "I'm right here. You're not alone, and I promise this won't last forever. You're doing great." Tears flooded my eyes and dripped onto the tile, my deep empathy and compassion for her suffering overcoming me.
As I spent the rest of the night cradling her tired little body, it became increasingly clear to me that my intuitive reaction to Grace's pain is (more than likely) the exact same reaction that God must have as She watches us struggle through Earth School (after all, I am made in the image and likeness of God, aren't I? :)). Hovering over us. Rooting us on. Cheerleading from the Invisible Realm. Promising that we will get through it and that it won't last forever. But if we are locked into a trance on our phones and computers, with faces down and minds full or thoughts, how can we hear and feel and comprehend this All Pervasive Loving Supporter? I surely can't.
For me, my yoga mat gives me the perfect place for what my teacher Tara Barach calls "a Sacred Pause." Here, I can finally quiet my mind. I can hear my Guidance. I can feel my Spirit undulating with my breath.
With every passing winter season I watch the trees in my yard faithfully say "okay" to the challenge of winter, gaining wisdom with each passing year. Instead of resisting what's happening, they accept it, using it to better prepare them for the next inevitable winter that will come around. This, to me, is the paradigm of Divine Evolution of which we are a part: that it takes challenge for each creature to refine her skills and evolve beyond what it once was. In fact, it seems that the challenge of the cold is exactly what those trees might need as the perfect push toward evolving into their fullness. And if that's True for them, how can't it be True for us?
My wish for you is that amidst whatever challenges you are facing, you take time to find your Sacred Pause and underneath the thinking mind can hear: "You're not alone, and I promise this won't last forever. The way through is through."
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother