This is one of those things my yoga teacher said over a year ago that has stuck with me. I remind myself of this whenever I’m feeling crabby and it helps me at least put on a happy-ish face, which generally results in feeling less crabby.
About two months ago, I decided to try my hand at succulents. I shopped around and added twenty plants to an online shopping cart, then got to work sketching where I would plant them. When I researched light requirements in-depth, I realized that the rocky succulent garden I had in mind would not work in front of the house, becuase these plants prefer Southern exposure.
As my garden progressed, I uncovered small hurdles… some plants need more nutrients, some less. Some are easily sunburned. Very few can handle winters here in zone 8a. My list of plants that could thrive here was getting shorter and shorter.
I deleted the online shopping cart and went to the local nursery. I let my kids each pick out a succulent, and my daughter picked a Lithops… a “living rock.” Sounds easy to care for, right?
After a few weeks in it’s new home, the plant started showing signs of ill health. The old me would have tried to revive it. More water, less water. More sun, less sun. The old me would have tried to do anything recover the plant, before tossing it into the compost heap for recycling.
But the now me, the me who accepts that I alone cannot do all the things, know all the things, and fix all the things, recognized that it was time to go to my community for guidance. I posted a photo of my sickly lithops, and immediately learned that it was, in fact, NOT a lithops, but a close relative called pleiospilos nelii. Not a living rock but a “split rock.” The extra leaves that we found appealing at the nursery are, in fact, a sign that the plant was in transition, and in fact I shouldn’t save them… they will feed the plant and shrivel. We had sunburned the plant by putting it in too strong sunlight, for too long, too soon. We had overwatered. We had made assumptions based on research, trusted the nursery would only sell a perfect plant, but we lacked the experience and patience to set the plant up properly.
We are not at our best acting solitarily, living in a vaccuum. Our plants, our selves, require not only sun and water, but patience, support and imput from those who have “been there,” acceptance of who and where we are, and time.
When I looked at this plant, I saw a plant that was dying. But people who have “been there” have assured me that if we re-pot the plant in the appropriate growing media, slowly acclimate it to it’s new home, and wait, the damage will “grow out,” the sunburned leaves will shrivel and nourish the plant, and new, healthy leaves with eventually grow.
“If you are being poked or prodded, you are not being punished or abused. You are being pushed out of the nest.”
This is from Savasana, something my yoga mentor read about a year ago. I jotted it down in “Drafts,” and happened upon it today.
Source is unknown because I don’t remember what it was, but I expect to come across it again in the next six months.
If you look at the calendar, or ask a groundhog, or follow the sun, it may not look like Spring just yet. But it is Spring for me. After a long winter of runny noses and Dickensian coughs, my family seems the be on the mend. It’s chilly but our energy is up, particularly mine. I am in motion. I have newness on the brain. I feel like writing, after a long winter of just… not.
I’ve cut meat out of my diet for a second time… I was a vegetarian from the age of 15 until I was 24… here I go again at age 40. Given the meat alternatives on the market, and the fact that I know more about nutrition, it feels new to me. I am planning my garden. Or rather, un-planning my garden, as I’ve decided to give my small raised bed a year of compost and soil renewing love, so it feels like Spring. And I have a new vision for my yoga journey, one where I begin sharing and teaching yoga sooner than I imagined. More on that soon, hopefully.
Yesterday, my yoga teacher’s reading touched on yoga as a garden, on tending our practice like we would a garden. It is a metaphor that speaks to me. A garden flourishes with attention, and a person blooms with intention. A garden and a person experience seasons of abundance, of shedding, of dormancy, and of blooming. I am welcoming this blooming stage, this Spring, as I marinate in this newness.
It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m OK with that. I’m trying to live in the present, offer what I can to my family and friends, to the universe, and finding peace in who I am. Some days I am more successful than others, and that’s OK too. My yoga mentor says, “Begin where you are.” And I am here. I’m setting my intentions on being who I want to be. I am setting my intentions on willpower, on focus, on love, on peace.
The longer I practice yoga, the more value I see in it as a lifestyle, and I want to help people who would not be drawn to a studio find yoga. I have discovered that I want to bring yoga to non-yoga people. To people suffering with thyroid issues, people battling rheumatoid arthritis, to fellow infertility warriors, addicts in recovery, children fighting socioeconomic oppression, to people who deem themselves too unfit to “do yoga,” to people struggling to keep their A1C down as they stave off or endure type II diabetes… you see where I’m going here.
So I’m writing these intentions down, putting them out to the universe. I’m in no rush, I’m taking it slow. I want to do this right. I’ve got a mentor, the will to do this, and the heart. In time, I will have the willpower and the skills. I’m so excited to be embarking on this journey. Thanks for reading.
Paraphrasing what Teacher L said today: “You know those pictures you see of people with their faces turned up and that expression of enlightenment? Sometimes that is only for looks, and it places a strain on your neck. It is a choice we all make, whether we want to face the sky or have the neck in a more natural position. I don’t like to put strain on my neck, because I don’t like to feel that way. You have do think about, how will you wear your pose?”
I found that I agreed with her. I also prefer to keep my neck and face in a more natural place, where I can “forget” about them and focus on keeping the balance between the sides of my body. Shoulders, hips, feet… yoga works best, for ME, when I keep things aligned and balanced. I am so over having to look pretty. I want to FEEL good!
Notes on today’s practice
Attended a beginner’s class. I forgot to set an intention for my practice and found my mind wandering during savasana. Mental note, make sure I begin thinking about my intention on the drive to class! We worked on Pigeon and opening the ribcage. Essential oil used during savasana: tangerine and orange.