Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Copyright © 2020, Deborah Lukovich, PhD
My FIRST Creative Writing SHARE!
PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK AND SHARE WITH OTHERS IF YOU LIKE IT!
I felt an unusual sense of alert presence as I walked through the entrance into the courtyard where yoga class was taking place. My body seemed to accept an invitation through this symbolic threshold to another realm.
“Is this the 7:30 class?” I asked the woman whose calm and stately presence suggested she was the yoga instructor. Her nod confirmed my worry that the class was being held outside. It was still 95 degrees as time progressed towards sunset. I let it go and found a spot on the beautifully designed patio made of intricately laid bricks. I carefully unrolled my newly purchased fuchsia colored mat that included the imprint of a mandala. This ancient symbol is understood to be an expression of wholeness. I hadn’t given it a second thought since I purchased the mat at a discount store just three weeks prior, but the image in gold print caught my attention on a semi-conscious level.
On this particular night, a sense of ritual seemed to take my body over. After taking a moment to make sure my mat lay within the taped markings meant to ensure proper social distance, I slowly moved down to the mat. My body seemed particularly attuned to the present moment, and as time seemed to slow down, I relaxed first into a cross-legged position and then rolled back my spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, until I settled into the pose referred to as corpse. I hadn’t really given this much thought either, but in hindsight, on this particular night, corpse pose seemed an appropriate description of the kind of symbolic and psychological death that had been following me around as I continued to transition to a new way of existing in the world.
A big belly breath in and then an audible sigh out my mouth, as I entered an alternative realm. These moments before class felt like a respite from the uncertainty of life that seemed to be a constant companion for me over the past few years. As I became aware of my breath, I was amused by my recollection of a little-known fact that people who breathe only into their lungs, and not into their bellies, are more likely to have a heart attack. As my breathing deepened, I placed one hand on my belly and the other on my chest. Typically, this would be an instruction given by the yoga teacher, but on this occasion my body just guided my hands to these energy centers, which in Chakra-speak have to do with the love and sexuality.
On any other day, I would have been anticipating the start of class, as if needing permission to enter the realm of presence and connection to my true essence. For some reason, this evening was different. My eyes gently gazed up, and I became intrigued by the complex pattern above me. The cozy outdoor space was also used for small events, its low light and energy creating a sense of intimacy. The covering over the otherwise open courtyard resembled a wooden pergola rafter worn by years of direct sunlight and the kind of rainstorms that occur in Florida beach towns.
My attention moved to the dark-leafed plant that seemed to be in the process of taking over the rafter. As I projected onto the plant a personal drive towards some kind of goal, I remembered a watered-down version of an important spiritual teaching – Flowers do not TRY to bloom. They just do what they do. This winding vine was just doing what it does, growing and finding its way into open space.
It was as if time stood still, or I was experiencing a sense of what spiritual teachers point to as the eternal. My eyes next traveled to the spaces between the cramped leaves of the vine, and I noticed that the glimpses of light looked more like twinkling stars. I wondered if the sparkles of light, which seemed to be engaged in some kind of rhythmic dance, were trying to communicate something to me personally.
And then . . . The insight was dramatic. In that moment, I realized something that felt momentous and life defining. I’m certain that the only reason I gained this insight was because something had come to a close. It was as if that something had not been able to get over the threshold through which I had walked a few minutes earlier, and I could only grasp it now because it was no longer a part of the way I was going to be living my life.
“For as long as I can remember, I have either been running from something or running towards something,” I thought to myself. During the unraveling of my 24-year marriage, I had become aware that childhood for me felt like a prison from which I had to escape. I became driven to be completely independent and write my own story, which I did. It turns out though, the constant goal setting and drive to achieve were distractions. These distractions helped me develop useful skills that did contribute to making the world a better place, but they also prevented me from being still enough to fall in love with myself.
There’s love, and then there’s love. I thought I knew love, but then my therapist asked me a really good question during this tumultuous time in my live. “How do you know you feel love?”
“Hmmm. Well, I know I feel love for my children.” It wasn’t a needy kind of love though. I think it was through relationship with my children that I first came into contact with the Divine – or God – and another part of myself. For some reason, I felt the truth in that saying that your children do not belong to you. They are placed in your care for the purpose of preparing them to unfold as they must, whether it suits you or convention.
What I had not experienced throughout my objectively successful life was the stillness required to fall in love with myself as a child of the Divine. The big sigh was perhaps a final letting go of the running.
“Namaste,” the instructor nodded as class came to an end.
“Thank you,” many of us responded.
With the same sense of ritual that preceded class, I gently stood, rolled up my mat, and walked through the same threshold. I knew something had changed as I looked towards sunset, but unlike the manic energy that had been a constant companion on my quest to achieve during the first part of my life, a quiet calm filled my body. No goals. Just this moment.
NOTE: This really happened to me - about five weeks after my move to Jacksonville Beach, FL.