I started with the door a tiny bit ajar, just enough open, pushed by curiosity. A bit skeptical of a design laid out by a book promising change. Things have never been that clear cut, that easy for me to find inner peace, joy, balance. But because I’m gifted with enough courage and insanity mixed together in my winded fire proposition I joined 40 Days to Personal Revolution at Cape Ann Power Yoga.
I came weekly, daily, and eventually moment by moment. Wondering…what would, what could happen if I looked inside, if I opened that door wider. Together with a group of new strangers, soon to be friends, fellow seekers, journeyed each week with a designated intention to find change. And when I least expected it, in the most simple ordinary moments, change found her way in like a soft-pawed cat through the crack between the door and the wall. There were simple changes like; breathing an inch deeper, taking a moment before reaction, finding grace in my daily agenda, doing a forward bend. Change continued to teach me in the gentlest and most loving ways a new dance, a deeper strength, a new way to move my body. Grace, Mercy, Peace and Presence practiced next me on my mat. And I started to get to know them a little better so that I could take them with me.
For me personally, the most profound change came during week five. You see I have spent many days, years, wandering; wondering what direction my life should go. A year and half ago I was forced to stop my old ways of doing things and with the help of many, started to transform the lies that robbed me of so much joy. The lies that said “I wasn’t good enough.” “I need to do more.” “I am not loved.” And all of these were held in my chest alongside a grapefruit sized cancerous tumor
Today, a year later, newly healed of many things, my heart lay open with more space, space left where the cancer sat heavy. But space uncertain of what to be filled with.
My husband and I went to marriage counseling because living, breathing, sharing, loving another person can be really hard. Our therapist talked about my forehead. This is the place where I store all my energy, often it shoots out from a horn causing movement and rapid emotion. He says it also holds the gift that can see things in the future and connect the pieces. Basically I have a great executive functioning skills. But here is where the most amazing part happened during all my 40 days of yoga – as calmly and simply like the cat that snuck in through my doorway. He told me to turn my horn around so that it became a funnel. To receive all the gifts before me. And just like that, in a moment everything came into alignment. Everything came home.
I became a Receiver
I have always loved the book The Giver. I have taught it to students, read it over and over again, even wrote the author Lois Lowry a letter about it. Jonas the main character, is born into a colorless world of order and sameness, void of emotion, feeling, longing. At age 12 all the children get assigned their vocation. Some are nurtures, teachers, healers. Jonas was given the rare job of being the Receiver. Jonas was sent to the house of the Giver, his apprentice, to learn his craft. And during this time, Jonas’s job was to receive all the memories of this community that no one else but the Giver had. These are memories of love, red, speed, snow, war, pain. Over time Jonas develops a hunger for more, he craves and likes this new way of life. One baby in particular, Gabriel, has trouble learning to sleep through the night. After an allotted time, the community decided baby Gabriel needed to be dismissed, a nice term for being killed. In haste and passion Jonas takes baby Gabriel and bikes as fast as he can out of his community. They hide during the day and ride at night. They lie still in the grass when the helicopters circle looking for them. But eventually full of hunger and cold, they make it to a new community, a new house, a home, to Christmas, to Love.
I have spent the majority of my life giving. I know how to give really well, so well that the weight of need presses on back, curving my shoulders inward.
Receiving is new. At first uncomfortable.
And I am waking up, realizing life can and will be different. I have so much space now in my hollow chest to receive. Change, transformation, is free and always ready to be given. But as my pastor said last Sunday, we have to claim it; we have to believe. It doesn’t take 40 days of yoga to change. There are no clear set plans to follow. But for me, yoga is a place to routinely practice opening up my concave chest, breathing in life, daring to believe and receive.
Come roll down your mat next to mine at 5:30 am. I am the one with her pants on inside out. I often have come crawling from the darkness. Unlock the door, let your kitten crack it open. Light will come in. And let us journey together and see what glories lay ahead.