Monday morning I taught a class in which the peak pose was the Dancer. In discussing the symbolism of Siva Nataraja, or Siva the Dancer, I was reminded that creation, maintenance and dissolution are all happening all at once … all the time … everywhere. Each of us is a dancer in this cycle and we are a different points of this never-ending continuum. We can even be at several points on the continuum at the same time when we look at the complexity of our lives.
Last month I put forth a manifesto for the year thinking I was ready to bust loose and begin a new cycle after a long and challenging denouement to 2012. Ha! The joke was on me!
The new year started with more of a whimper than a bang. I got sick; the kind of sick where I wasn’t sure I would make it through the day. I managed to do the bare minimum each day and then either collapsed on the couch or went to bed. Instead of feeling like I was at the creation part of the cycle at the beginning of the new year, I felt like I was dissolving in a cesspool of blech. At times I felt quite discouraged, especially because I think of being sick as a personal failure, rather than just another part of the dance of life. (Perhaps its time I let that go! No. 9)
After re-reading my manifesto, I had a good chuckle. At first blush, it looks like I didn’t accomplish anything on my list. So how do I measure success?
Perhaps the most successful thing I did in January was slow down (No. 7). This process was definitely delivered to me by health and personal considerations, but it also allowed me time to sleep, read, reflect, meditate and to “sit” with things.
Another success I had over the past month, which may be considered unusual to some, was saying good-bye to my dad with a requiem mass (No. 6). He would have been 74 last week and the requiem was a way of honoring both his birthday and his dying wishes – he had asked me to go to church and pray for him. It was sweet and sad. While I had a chance to say good-bye in person last fall, I felt like this was our final farewell.
In the past year or so, the dynamic of our relationship shifted and we truly enjoyed one another, perhaps for the first time in our lives. It was like we had found a new beginning. Because of that, I don’t think I was quite ready for this cycle to end. Being sick gave me plenty of time to sit with the process of letting go. I’m still a bit sad, but it’s a good sad. I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to know each other in a new way.
So, while it didn’t seem like much was happening last month because I hardly spent any time on my mat, there was a lot going on under the surface.
Many years ago I was told that sometimes not doing yoga is doing yoga. I understood this to mean that stepping back now and then provides the perspective needed to understand why our practice is important to us in the first place.
I have definitely missed my regular asana practice. I haven’t had the energy needed to do much more than a few restorative poses. So perhaps success for me this month has been more about acceptance of where I am in my own dance of life and having the faith to know that it won’t always be this way.
The cycle always folds back in on itself. The process of dissolution gives way to creation. I am feeling better. My energy levels are on the way back up. On January 24, I finally made it to my first yoga class of 2013. It felt wonderful to move my body fully and deeply again, even it if was with tissues at hand!
So perhaps I am finally ready to begin a new cycle and a new dance. Let’s see how the manifesting goes this month!