As I strive to integrate the teachings of the immersion that I just completed with my teacher from Martha’s Vineyard, Sherry Sidoti, I can’t help but reflect back to two years ago when I last attended a teacher’s immersion on island. It feels empowering to acknowledge the growth – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – which has evolved, and it is incredibly humbling to realize how much of my “stuff” is still so very present in my life. “Longing to be seen,” as Sherry rather matter of factly explained it. I am learning to accept the fact that when we create the space in our lives for ourselves to fully drop into the teachings, our “stuff” undeniably rears its head.
Through her teachings, Sherry shared of the subtle bodies of yogic philosophy – the different layers of the body which exist beyond one’s physical form. These bodies encompass the mental, emotional, spiritual, and ultimately, the soul bodies. It is only through addressing EACH layer that we may have the potential to truly find inner peace, contentment, and joy. Devoted practice to the asana (yoga poses) can be the catalyst in through the physical body to see what lies beneath this on a deeper level, that which is longing to be seen.
I am grateful to have provided myself with a few days on the island to decompress following this immersion to receive the fruitful riches of Martha’s land. I feel fully here, and fully open. Simple blessings have been finding me and from them I am sourcing strength for continued growth.
I’ve taken a few walks along one of my favorites beaches on the island, Lucy Vincent’s Beach. As I was drawn to particular rocks, I began to notice a trend. Each of the rocks which were catching my eye was some blending of white, black, and/or gray. Some of the rocks appeared to be white with black speckles and spots throughout, some black with white speckles and spots throughout, and some a complete marriage of the two, thus yielding a rock which appeared to be gray.
As I walked further, I started to consider the fact that there was opportunity for learning from these rocks. Right before my eyes, Martha was delivering me with a message. In life there is darkness, and there is light … Always!!! Even when we are devout in our practice, there will be challenging days. Not one of us is exempt from this. Life is NOT always about happiness and sunshine. Acknowledging and accepting this can be pivotal in releasing our conditioned human response to achieve a sense of perfection which is never actually attainable, nor is it sustainable. What we DO have control over is how we choose to perceive that which life throws our way.
Some days life may feel generally light – like a white rock – with dark spots interspersed here and there, while some days life may feel generally dark – like a black rock – with only glimpses of light here and there. Other days may feel like a true mix of darkness and light – gray. As a human being who’s been granted embodiment in this physical form on our planet, I challenge you to decide how you will greet the gift of each passing day.
Our “stuff” may never fully go away. Gray moments, days, and sometimes even longer stretches of time are all a part of our journey. It is impossible to appreciate and fully experience pleasure, if you’ve not also faced trying times. Afterall, the tough moments show up only because they are longing to be seen. By choosing to face rather than to ignore and/or to distract ourselves from them, we can make conscious strides towards freedom from the control of that which they may have over us.
The practice of yoga seems to find us in the most pristine of times. Ancient yogic philosophy supports that which I feel blessed to be learning as my practice continues to evolve. Remaining dedicated to the practice and striving to commit to BE with the lows and the highs – both the darkness and the light – becomes more manageable. This awareness, has and continues to yield an increased ability to hear my true essence, the voice of the intuitive self, which speaks the loudest and the clearest when I remain steadfast in honoring alignment of the mind, body, and spirit. Some days through the asana, the physical body practice, and other days through stillness and breath. And that it is ok, too.