On Becoming & Giving Thanks

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This morning I woke up, I put on my Thankful AF shirt and as I do on a lot of my very best days… I drove to Evergreen. How fortunate I am that the person whose teachings resonate the most with me, lives only one beautiful drive away. And to have a teacher who invites people to her home, a teacher who lets you hold her kids, a teacher who literally offers you her yoga mat!  Driving there, I was listening to one of my teacher’s favorite teachers: Brene Brown. In her newest book, she quotes CS Lewis, who says,

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

This quote struck a chord. Those years I’d spent making my heart impenetrable. The burrito bowls. The fortress that is my body. How for a couple of years now I’ve been taking swings at it, like a piñata… little bursts of goodies showering forth every now and then… but still waiting for the whole damn thing to burst wide open.

What would that look like?

Today at Jacki’s house, she was going to lead us through some gratitude work and a yin practice. Through the gratitude work I found myself really going deep with the gratitude towards my family, it’s funny how sometimes we need a weekend apart to feel how lucky we are.

But it was in the middle of a supine twist, with my left leg draping across my body, my thoughts went to where they always do in that pose… my left ovary… the mass that used to grow there, the new one that might be growing now, the haunting… and right as I was about to start massaging that area, like I normally do… Jacki said, “What do you need to let go of? To makes space for something else…”. Lately I’ve been really honing in on what it means if I’m alone forever. But in that moment, I had a vision of me that was straight out of “Under the Tuscan Sun”... The MOVIE, not the book! At the end when Frances (Dianne Lane), finds herself in a pretty white dress, at her beautiful home she brought to life in Tuscany, and surrounded with random people; her lesbian best friend who had a baby, the men who worked on her home, who found a place in her heart, the weird eccentric lady of the town— all of these people had become her people.

In my version that came upon me in Savasana it was something more mountainous, but I let people in to my home, I housed people who maybe needed a little help, a little place to find their footing, a place to rest. A place to recover. A place to heal. In it, I did not look like Dianne Lane, but I did have those laugh lines, and my eyes sparkled… and you could tell that I’d had a really FULL life. Full of love.

”Thy people shall be my people.”

After savasana, Jacki had us roll over to our left side, our more feminine side. I always, roll to my right so I can feel that left ovary and so my heart is more towards the sky.  But I liked this. I liked rolling to my left… resting upon that space that broke me once upon a time. In savasana, Jacki read a poem from Danielle Doby’s collection, she read…

“Let your heart break daily.

In conversations, over song lyrics,

During the pause right before the

Sun rises. While you’re sipping coffee

+ looking into the eyes of someone

You love. It’s when we break a little,

We come alive. It’s in this space

Of feeling, we expand, and it’s here,

In our vulnerability and openness,

We step into our greatest selves.”

******

Let your heart break daily.

Little cracks.

Little fissures.

Like a piñata.

Until that whole damn cornucopia of goodness spills forth!

After class I made my way down the mountain to the little downtown of Evergreen, I started walking and just a few doors down from my original destination was a cafe that was still serving up breakfast. It was called The Wildflower Cafe, and above the door it said, “Eat, Drink, and Give Thanks”. They sat me in a window where the sunlight was just showering through, and every time the door opened a gentle breeze would lift my new short hair off the neck. The window served as a perfect frame for a couple that was sitting outside. They were so affectionate, and rather than make me uncomfortable I thought how beautiful that was. To love big. To love out loud. Everytime the woman pulled away from her lover’s face or shoulder, or ear… every single time her eyes were sparkling.

The cook in this place he sings, a lot. But it’s comforting. I stretch and look up to see a stuffed raven (or crow) right above my head in the top of one of those macrame plant holders. I one time had a dream that when I was laying on my right side in a yoga class that I opened my eyes to see a raven (or a crow) in the corner of the room watching me. Seeing this little stuffed guy above my head…. prompts me to google what it means if a raven (or a crow) shows up in your dream.

Raven= a bad omen

Crow= a good omen, representing change.

It’s definitely a crow. A sign to turn over. To that left side. The more feminine side.

The other morning in yoga, my teacher Sarah did this move that I’ve seen her do another time, I remember watching her and thinking how beautiful it was. It’s almost camel pose, but a moving, graceful opening. Standing on her knees, she reaches one hand back to the foot on the same side, her opposite arm raised above her head, and she arches her back, opening her heart to the sky and then she switches sides, so beautifully, like “moving through honey”. When I watched her do it, I wished that I could be that beautiful. But this most recent time I did it, a bit self-consciously. But I did it. This big body moving through honey. Gentle and sweet.

I imagine the day I do this with no abandon, that’s the day the piñata breaks.