At night, when the anger grabs me, when the anxiety builds – a fist in my belly, a fluttering in my throat – I imagine floating. Floating in a warm pool in the south of France. Floating in the lake at Kripalu. Floating under the canopy of oak trees at City Park pool. Wherever I am – releasing into the water, letting it take me.
I was listening to a CD a friend burned for me on my ride home from the Midwest Yoga Conference yesterday and the speaker asked, “What does God do with his hands?” The “answer” turned out to be that he gives to you; but my response was that he holds you. “God” is a slippery term for me. But the idea that a higher power – our best, truest self – can hold us is so so appealing. And true.
When I was preparing for Bella’s birth ten years ago at this time (Bella turns 10 on Sunday! Amazing. Wondrous. Impossible. I have been weepy over this and grappling with allowing time to be what it is; to accept time, which is hard for me.) my main meditation was on floating. And when I labored in a hot tub for a very speedy two hours, the water helped – helped to soothe me, helped to hold me, helped me to let go. Each contraction was a wave and all I could do was surrender to it.
Because the holding on feels like crap. The holding on gets us no where.
Melting into our fears. Being with our anger. Accepting time. Just as a friend said to me in a dream years ago: “Let go and be free.” Because the holding on feels like crap. The holding on gets us no where. Except knots in our shoulders, aches in our bellies, and wide awake at 4 am.
Holding is what we do, though. And pressing further, deeper, more. I’ve been doing Bryan Kest’s streaming yoga classes and have been so thankful for his foul-mouthed, Detroit voice in my ears each week. He suggests a deeper variation of a pose, and then a still deeper one – one that seems to me to be nearly impossible. “If you’re in this pose now,” he asks, “are you feeling proud of yourself? Well don’t be. So your body goes further, it’s more bendy or stronger. So what? Who’s not to say that the hardest thing you can do in this room is to come out of a pose and rest. Can you let yourself do that?”
And you know what? I’ve always kind of sucked at this. I really get what Bryan is saying, even if I’m not one of the people in the Level V version of the pose. But I’m getting better. Better all the time at floating.
Part of what I’m surrendering to is that which I haven’t been able to get done – such as an audio post for this site that has turned out to be way more complicated than I’d thought, and which nags me. (For fans of poetry and midwives, though, know that it is coming…). Surrendering to the mess in the basement and the sunroom. To the crumbling front stairs. Because, you know what? I’m getting a new roof by the end of this month and that is PROOF that movement occurs.
If you’re overwhelmed, I invite you to lay back in your own lake of the imagination. To let the water hold you, the sun beating down on your heart space and your forehead, filling your upturned palms with light. There is no where you need to go right now. Nothing you need to do. Nothing you need to know. You are here. Now.
Thanks for the beautiful art, Aimee! Please see more of her great work at her Artsyville Etsy store.