Yoga is comprised of postures that either constrict your blood flow, your organs, and your muscles, or expand and stretch and release all those parts that make up the whole of you. By practicing these back and forth poses you create space in your body, mind, heart, and who knows, perhaps your soul. Just by reaching up while at the same time pressing down. Sort of miraculous. As often happens, these yoga ah ha’s penetrate my consciousness until I’m thinking about creating space in every area of my life. After such a long and constricted period, clearly, I surmised, it was time to fly away. So, I did just that.
Grief is constricting, as Macbeth so aptly complains, “I had else been perfect, Whole as the marble, founded as the rock, As broad and general as the casing air: But now I am cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound in To saucy doubts and fears.” We will overlook for the moment that his grief was of his own making, and just state, who cares? Regardless the source, after hardships and loss one is left in a small box with emotions and moods constantly pressing downward: so much so that regardless of your circumstances, by the end of the day, you are right back there, confined in Shakespeare’s perfect metaphor. The result? Again Macbeth mused over this very sad state, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
But, and here is where we must believe, we must do more than hope, we must know for sure that we can soar up and out and over the spinning mass of human frailty into some other far more expansive place. Thankfully, I can admit that yes, truly, I did have my moment in the sunshine! I caught the plane at sunset and by the next morning was racing into the wide and wild Pacific. Only me and a string of surfers braved those wicked waves, but all I cared about was feeling that release, that opening, the expanse manifesting right inside of me.
Yoga teaches us slowly, at our own pace. Even though I have been practicing for years, I often pay little attention to the breath. My daughter was shocked by this and told me by the end of her class, they are all inhaling and exhaling in unison. So, the other night at my yoga class as we moved through our opening vinyasa series, I kept my attention on inhaling and exhaling: as a result my contraction and expansion deepened with this connection. I felt bigger, or my awareness felt bigger, or was it that I felt more spacious?
Taking this metaphor to the top of the skyline, where all the collective air of the day is pulsating between the setting orb and fading daylight into emerging city light and fabulous Saturday night, we all let out one exhaustive exhale and inhaled the dramatic beauty. Wall-less. Open. Floating. Allowing the expanse to bring about transformation. Stretching upward and simultaneously pushing down; making space for possibility. Perhaps joy? Ease? Connections? Communion?
Love? Another avenue to make space, love cuts through whatever mass it must to bring you together. If we are the lucky ones, there are people around willing to laugh and shout and dance and live the whole life with you. Those who meet you shoulder to shoulder when days are tough, and toe to toe when you don’t see eye to eye, and those who just melt when you step inside the threshold. Love can knock down anything from the Berlin Wall to a simple curb. Love rolls over grief. On this rooftop night, during my short soiree in Los Angeles, I drank in equal parts sunset and love and champagne and let everything else drift over the orangie horizon for a while.
One must allow for and make space for such a peaceful place to grow in our lives. Find your loves and just sit with them. On a rooftop or beach or home or any corner allow such freedoms to take root. We all need more cheerleaders in our lives, and no matter whether you qualify for the A Team or B, being inspired to be your best self does exactly that.
Time and time again, we struggle along, stepping in short measured steps along our daily path, until, yes, until we divert our attention to releasing and allow ourselves lift off. We move arms overhead, we stretch our spine, as we push each toe into the earth. We make space. For whatever future may be out there.
Photo Credit: Kyrie and Diego for many, Marnika, Maria and Tate too. Clearly it takes many eyes to catch the whole view. Thanks to all for sharing theirs with me, xxoo