Finding ourselves in transition
I have found myself thinking about transitions, the space between endings and beginnings, up and down, backward and foreward. Our language has the power to shape us and in current usage ‘between’ is usually thought of as that which separates and is applicable to both space and time; the road is between this town and that town, I will arrive between 9am and 10 am - but what if instead we began to consider the between as something that could connect us, something that reveals more of what we share?
We are always in transition in one way or another, sometimes the transitions are small, we move between inhale and exhale and barely give it a second thought and sometimes the transitions are bigger. I have recently transitioned from the UK to New York State, a transition that took me from a place I lived to a life I can call home.
That was the physical move, but the real transition occurred after arriving here. It would be seven months before the things I had deemed important enough to keep arrived as they were to be shipped and seven months before the Green Card which allowed me to work arrived - so now who am I without all the layers I have previously, falsely, identified as myself? There were a wealth of possibilities in front of me, the temptation was to run headlong into all those possibilities. As a lifelong learner there was so much I could fill my time with, endless opportunities to run round in circles, sticking to myself new markers, in the shape of skills and certification, symbols of how I felt I ought to present myself to the world, to be good enough, to fit in, much as a decorator crab sticks shiny things to its shell to protect itself from predators. In short countless ways to avoid simply sitting with the between, with myself.
I am lucky, the person I consider home is very good at reminding me I am enough just as I am - sometimes I just need to pause long enough to really hear it, to let it in all the way. I did, eventually, I dared to pause and I sat in the in between, in the nothingness, or so I thought, because in that stillness so much began to emerge. Not in the form of new skills, or things - it began as a sensation, a dropping in. When all the striving and searching fell away what was left was a hum, it was the sensation of peace and ease and it felt familiar, like stepping into water that is exactly the same temperature as your body - you feel nothing and everything all at once - that is how you know you belong.
From there I have chosen carefully what I invite back into my life, all the while listening for the familiar hum, the intuition that tells me I am being true to myself rather than living up to what I mistakenly believe the world expects from me.
I would invite you to approach your practice in the same way - first drop in to yourself, listen for your own hum, listen to it on days when you are relaxed and truly in yourself, in your elements, listen on days you are frazzled and scattered in a million other directions. Notice the pitch, tone, sensation, this is your baseline, you are not looking for perfection, you are looking for what is. Then begin to move - start close to the ground, let yourself be supported, move rhythmically, notice the breath, the fluid systems of the body. Keep dropping your centre of gravity out of the mind and into the body until the hum feels more unified, more like a long forgotten song that you once loved. Then take that sensation with you as you add more challenges, more changes in gravity. Move, for example, from Supta Tadasana to Tadasana can you come back to the sensation here, can you bring with you the sensation of support that the floor gave you? If you find it in Tadasana can you build Trikonasana in a way that supports it rather than forcing your way past it? Can you add to what’s outside without subtracting from what’s inside?
That is the challenge life presents to us all, can we be both inward and outward simultaneously. Can we dare to look inward to our most vulnerable self and in that vulnerability recognize our shared humanity. Can we resist the temptation to throw on our armor or use force when faced with challenges or changes in gravity. Perhaps if we can pause long enough we can find ourselves, find each other and regain the sensation of connection in a world that would mistakenly have us believe there is only separation in the between.
In this time of uncertainty I have no wish to add to the noise in this world. I leave these writings for those I have shared Yoga with, so our community may continue and flourish - as ever take what you need and leave the rest...