Well, we’re off. I am grateful to have an incredible group of individuals that are joining me on my first “Embrace the Space” venture. The week 1 video went out this Sunday morning and all are taking time today to realistically plan their upcoming week of practice, to introduce themselves to some new movements, and to consider what it is like to reclaim space.
Meanwhile on the creating end, I walk my talk and step back from the doing to Be. My excitement and nervousness clatter around for this baby step of an online program and my go-go self could clean this house top to bottom with the adrenaline pumping in my system. But the space I carved on my calendar days ago directs me otherwise. I sit on the porch in the thick October air and hear the trees move. The rain fall. Touch the cat curled up beside me. I write to reclaim the wellspring of thoughts that swirls around in my head and heart space.
My calendar IS my yoga mat. It is where I make space and take up space. It is where I zoom out every Friday and look to the following week with understanding of what is most important to me – this weeknight free or that entire Saturday with nothing scheduled – and then I work AROUND those chunks of space. No longer do I schedule and then try to catch a breath at the remaining slivers of space. Now, I start with the space I desire and build around that negative space.
I say my calendar is my yoga mat because we do the same thing in our practice. Our shape – whatever traditional asana or smaller therapeutic exploration we are doing – takes up space. We move our joints and bodies in different ways and as we do so, we experiment with “How can I fill space differently than I usually do?”. And there is always space surrounding us. And within us. Between muscle and bone. Between muscle and muscle. Between muscle and skin. Outside of skin.
Before you enter a yoga pose, explore what spaciousness and ease of breath exist at your baseline – perhaps simply standing in tadasana or in a preliminary savasana. These sensations are sacred. Can you retain that baseline and go only as far into the pose as ease and spaciousness reside within you? Can you grow your ability to do more work and take on more stress (what I call load) while retaining that baseline of ease?
Yes, I know you can.
Perhaps practice with your calendar. When you step back, what time is sacred to you? Perhaps there is a certain time of day or of the week or even of the month that you wish to protect and then you use THAT SPACE as the foundation for proceeding. Just as on your mat you practice proceeding only to the point of ease and spaciousness, can you think about scheduling your calendar around sacred space? I know this can feel far sighted and tricky at first… both the trade-offs and the old D.A.R.E. tagline “Just say NO!” can both feel a bit overwhelming in making and honoring the space you choose. And I know that with practice, it can feel totally natural.
Richard Wagamese was a phenomenal reflector and writer. I turn to him a great deal for solace and light. On this grey day dense with humidity, I share a taste of his cool quiet from the book Embers.
“A world so still you swear you can hear her breath. Snow glitters with points of light flung like stars across a universe of white. Not even birds breach the air, and there rises with you the notion that stillness is more enriching than motion, listening is more empowering than distraction and slow, measured steps feel more graceful than speed. Ah, I’m growing old, you say – then marvel at how young and new and invigorated it makes you feel.”
Your calendar is your yoga mat. See the space first. And allow the spaciousness to remain even as you step into creating your schedule. Your plan for your days. Your life. Fill out around your space and discover what awaits in the quiet.