I slowly open my eyes and not sure I can feel where my toes are and yet I feel completely whole in the moment. The room comes into focus again. In my mind, I paint the serene blue walls with clouds… wisps from my breath make the stratus clouds appear all around me. The gift of shavasana’s meditative state is immense. I have been coming to this room for three years to practice yoga. I know the knots on the floor that look like eyes staring back at me, where the wood grain flows like ocean waves, and the patterns of the metal on the exposed vents. However the greatest part of this room is my teacher, my guide as he so humbly prefers. Mike is without a doubt the kindest and most giving person I have ever met. He shows up with the purest heart, tremendous gratitude and greatest perspective I have received from a yoga instructor. He truly shows us what it means to be in that private and sacred space on your mat all the while making everyone’s energy and spirit a collective world of good. Yesterday, I went to my yoga class for the first time in over a month. How I have missed it!! It was just the reset I needed.
Like many of you who give yourself the gift of yoga, you know what the tremendous benefits are.
Flexibility and strength for both your mind and body,
the power of breath,
the calming of the mind,
the importance of balance,
and yes, the greatest gift of meditation bringing a wash of peace and clarity in shavasana. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh……………..
but it requires showing up. How had I let that go? How did I make it less of a priority?
The other night I went to a monthly get together with a small group of local artists. It helps us to brainstorm, get perspective, share resources and ground us in accountability. Having to verbalize what you will be working on for the next couple of weeks is tremendously powerful. After all of the chaos and fun of December, I lost so much momentum and inspiration to move forward with putting my art out into the world. The dark voices of doubt from exhaustion and being at the beginning of this journey rise bringing uncertainty on so many levels. As I sat and listened to these brilliant, talented, interesting woman offer up advice, talk about the books they have read, the opportunities and resources they are knowledgeable of, my doubt grew and began to swallow me up. I could feel myself shrinking and wanting to disappear as I didn’t feel like I had a thing to bring to the table. At the same time, I felt such gratitude to be sitting there, overwhelmed by the amount of information. I wanted to soak it all up like a sponge. My nervous funny came out and I felt like the gangly freshmen I was decades ago, but there was no back of the classroom in which to go disappear and hide.
During the meeting, one of the artists said that she had sat down and written all of her successes of 2013. So when I got in the car, I decided I would start making my list when I got home. That was something tangible I could grasp in my moment of such apprehension. I thought it would be short and sweet and not much to write home about.
I was wrong.
I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was the pile of thank-yous I had written to all of those who bought my work this past year, hired me for decorative finish work or commissions, my teachers from Evolve, some local artists who have been so supportive, welcoming and inspiring, a friend who spent time helping me kick off a business plan, my coach,who I can’t wait to see again in a few weeks and Mike, who kept bringing me back to center time after time. In each one I put a mini print of the first painting I sold last year. The one that started a year of doing and focusing on what I love to do. I sat down (okay collapsed onto the sofa) and began flipping through all of the names.
Here was my 2013 “list”on the stack of envelopes….. the names of the beautiful and amazing people who were in my life on account that I had spent a year following my heart. People who shared their stories with me. People who lived across the country as well as down the street. People who I had known for years and people I still have yet to meet face to face. People who are all a special part of my red-thread tapestry.
What a grand list! How very fortunate I am. I knew right then, that I hoped to have a list like this a year from now and the year after that. Lists with lots of wonderful memories and faces that have made me grow more into my true self. How could I doubt my journey when I have gained so much? To do this, I have to keep being vulnerable, keep learning, keep painting, and keep showing up.
I sat in the quiet of the house and soon began the normal spinning in my brain of what a new day would bring. I realized that Mike’s class was first thing in the morning. I felt a sense of calm and composure begin to build even at the thought of just being there. So the next morning I headed off to his class for the first time since November. I thought I wouldn’t be able to touch my toes, that my legs would shake as I tried to hold warrior poses and that I would fall over during a balance posture. There was that doubt rising it’s ugly head again. But I surprised myself (just as I did this past year by putting myself out there) and managed to have a practice that made me feel strong, open and even graceful. Mike had done it again. At the close of his class he often offers his gratitude along with “the true light in me, honors the true light in you when I say… Namaste.”
I just need to keep showing up; to the yoga room, to my studio, to those meetings and to all the places that push me outside of my comfort zone and keep me moving forward. From my list I can see how great the rewards will be…..all of you.
Now, on this snowy morning I am off to yoga again and then I am heading to my studio. I have a big year ahead and an important list to make… it’s time to show up!