IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

Finding My Center After the Storm

Saturday, September 07, 2013

I'm watching Turkey Buzzards circling over my backyard as I sit and work in my office on this peaceful Saturday morning.  Through the other window I see an intricate spider web attached to the eaves of the roof swaying in the gentle breeze.  My 3 children have spent the morning playing, disagreeing, making-up, and playing some more.  There is such peace and fullness in my heart/mind at this moment.  I'm reminded of the word purnam, or "perfection," which, in this context, does not mean what we might think.  I am full...I am whole...I am perfectly content in my spirit as I observe the fluctuations of the world around me.   


After the longest Winter of my life (which bled into the Spring and even early Summer), I am refreshed to find the ground beneath my feet again.  It felt like a metaphorical hurricane swept through my life and left me completely demolished internally.  

After a month of testing in January, my son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.  While I had suspected this for the 5 years prior to his diagnosis, there was still a part of me wishing they would tell me I was wrong on that emotional day.  

The day before I drove to Chicago for this news, I learned that my father was diagnosed with another form of cancer (he had beat Prostate Cancer years before).  My relationship with my Dad has not been a close one, and so I was left with a mixture of feelings, including grief and fear.  

It was a hell-of-a week, and I took a few days to try to assimilate all of this news.  And then...that following Friday as I was waiting in the pick-up line at school I received a terrifying call from my mother.  She was having a stroke!  I spent the next week in and out of the hospital with her...trading shifts with my brother as we worried what would happen next.  Once released, she came to live with me for a few weeks so I could care for her, which included sorting out all of her new meds, helping her learn to give herself insulin shots 4 times a day (for her out of control diabetes), cooking heart-healthy meals, and more.  I was happy to do it, but I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

By the grace of God, her stroke did not leave her completely handicapped.  While it certainly affected her, with time & rehab she regained most of her speech, balance, and abilities.  It was life-changing for her (and for all of us who love her), and she made incredible lifestyle changes in an effort to avoid another stroke.


Now, months later, we're all doing pretty damn well!  My father & I have become closer than we've been in years, and his cancer is under control at the moment.  My mother lives independently with a helper now who comes twice a week, and she continues to be stronger everyday.  My son, well...of course there is no cure for Autism, but we've been able to get him a 504 at school, which means he is protected for the rest of his educational days.  I've finally been able to talk to him about his diagnosis, and together we are learning how to navigate this unique path God has blessed us with. 


Everyday there are new challenges to face, but this is the nature of human existence for all of us.  For everyone of us life is going to be full of heartache, scary moments, and metaphorical hurricanes that make us feel defeated.  But, the beauty is that there are also moments of deep joy, moments to celebrate, and remarkable miracles which build us up again.  All moments pass, change, ebb & flow.  

I'm eternally grateful for the skills my yoga practice has given me.  Because of these tools I am able to find my center...remember to breathe...and accept that I am not in control of the world around me, but I can control how I react to it.  With a very glad and grateful heart, I am thankful for this moment.  


Namaste

<3 IndigoGrrl

"God is in the Roses...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

...the petals and the thorns.

Storms out on the oceans; 

souls who will be born.  

And every drop of rain that falls, 

falls for those who mourn. 

God is in the roses and the thorns."


I heard this Roseanna Cash song for the first time about a year ago as I was driving to our Yoga Teacher Training program at Indigo on a Sunday morning.  I was listening to NPR and hadn't been paying much attention as my mind was busy and my heart was heavy...I don't remember what internal battle I was fighting on that particular day.  I have battled chronic depression my entire life...and while I have overcome so much of this disease there are days & moments when the weight of the world and the suffering of humanity (especially of my own loved ones) swallow me up whole.


But when this simple yet powerful song started to play,

I was instantly hushed -- suddenly I was fully present...alive...aware...surrendered...accepting...at peace in the moment.  Tears of release streamed down my face and as I took deep breaths in and out I found myself absorbing the essence of God and letting go of the hurt.  

It was a moment that made a lasting impression.  It didn't erase my struggles.  It reminded me that my struggles are part of the process.  God is with me in the easy moments and in the difficult moments.  When I remember to let go of my firm grasp on those thorns my pain is so much less severe.  A rose can rest in my palm...thorns and all and when I just give it space (not casting it aside nor grasping firmly...just allowing it to BE) I can become aware of the complete beauty of God.  


Awareness.  Discernment.  Surrender.  There's that Kriya Yoga theme popping up in my life again.  Hmm...


**Just a sidenote to clarify my points of view:  when I refer to God, I do not see a separate God between cultures.  I do not believe there is MY God & then there is YOUR God, and I don't even really assign or assume gender here, as I believe God is bigger than those human labels & understandings.

Whatever way in which you personally connect with this Divine Creative Source, I believe it is the same energy for all of us.  Part of our human experience is finding our own personal connection with God (or the Gods, or the Goddess...or the Sun, or the Universe) ...these are all aspects of that one Infinite Source, in my humble opinion.   





Observing what "is"

Thursday, January 03, 2013
...is what Yoga "is."  Well, that doesn't fully sum it all up...or does it?

I was listening to a Richard Freeman (pictured above) talk today as I headed to our hot yoga studio to do my practice.  Today I didn't attend a guided class, but I was practicing in the same room as my husband.  I wasn't practicing with him, but there have been days in the past when I have been very tempted to do his yoga practice.  He is an advanced practitioner, so it can be tough at times to let go of my grasping to do what he does (check out our photo gallery to see for yourself!)

Today was different.  While I've listened to this particular 'Studio Talk' by Richard countless times before, there was a line that struck me as I pulled into the lot.  While I'm not quoting verbatim, he said that the practice of yoga is essentially the "observation of what is."  Now, I should also mention that I fell and hurt my arm last week, and so I was nervous to launch into a gazillion sun salutations (specifically Upward Facing Dog (known in Sanskrit as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.)  

Richards words shifted something, making my practice slow and skillful today.  I spent a lot of time patiently observing the sensations in my wrist, forearms, and I was surprised to discover pain deep in my shoulder joint & beneath the scapula on the right side.  I moved through a sequence of postures that opened the shoulder and provided a deep, therapeutic stretch & release.  Updog wasn't comfortable, so I didn't push through them (as I am sometimes wont to do.)  As I moved in and out of each posture I found myself practicing keen awareness and the attachment to having a vigorous practice melted away.

The discomfort is still there, but there was a great release and relief from the practice of observation of what "is" along with the acceptance of what "is."  And, I'm happy to report I didn't notice my husbands practice at all today (well, almost...he IS pretty awesome to 'observe!')

Namaste,
IndigoGrrl   


"Who apart from the gods is without pain for his whole lifetime's length?" ~Aeschylus

Friday, December 28, 2012
Do not be ashamed of your pain or the effects it brings. There will be those who are close to you who will not understand, but do not despair. Part of our human existence is to experience pain in some form or another...allow this moment to build your capacity for compassion, even for those who might forsake you in your hour of need. Pain does not discriminate, and while it might not show it's face to us all in the same way or at the same hour, it will visit every single one of us at some point in our lives. May this truth bind us together and ultimately increase our capacity for compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness for one-another. Please be kind to those who are suffering, as we will all know suffering and need the kindness & understanding of others at some point along our journey.


(I originally wrote & posted this to one of our Facebook pages in May of 2012.  I'm in the midst of a painful migraine today and needed a reminder so I'm reposting.)

If you live with chronic pain, how do you manage it?



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