My head is a whirlwind of thoughts, because summer has not brought focus to any one theme really, it has been so many things. So, I’ll use this post as a way to hone in by connecting the many elements that this summer has been into a more comprehensive picture and see how it relates to yoga, because really, things can always relate to the practice.
First of all, I’ve been training with my partner to run in a ragnar relay at Mount Rainier. Many people don’t know what a ragnar is. In fact, the computer is underlining it as a misspelling! It is a relay run, where either the team of runners cover up to 200 miles together on a road, splitting it up and taking turns, following each other in a van, or the team does trail routes that are set up in loops, each person completing the loops when it’s their turn. I’ll be doing the latter with my team. I was so excited in the beginning and I was making true progress with my speed, but something happened where my speed progress retracted, and so I’ve been a little discouraged with that.
On the topic of physical challenges, I’ve set my mind to hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail, going from Mexico to Canada) next spring. I remember hearing about it 6 years ago and my mind has come back to it a few times over the years. It wasn’t until recently that I really started getting into researching gear and getting into other peoples’ stories about their experience on the trail. It’s something in my heart, where I know that I will be faced with tremendous challenges (mostly mental) and I will ultimately be relying solely on my own preparation, knowledge, instinct, and body.
Soon before I plan on getting ready for that trip, I will be coming back from my honeymoon! I am getting married in two months and we plan on taking a round-the-world trip in the spring. Wedding planning requires so much more detail oriented thought than I anticipated! All of the things that have yet to be decided and bought are looming over my head all the time. I really just can’t wait to have so many loved ones around me, all meeting each other.
Though I live in an apartment, I have a small “garden” on my patio that I am proud of. I have a tomato plant, kale, broccoli, lettuce, celery, and potatoes. The lettuce, celery, and potatoes were started just by my leftover scraps and a single sprouting potato! I love giving life to my plants every day through water and making sure that they have enough space in their pots.
I feel like I learned a bit more about gardening at GRuB, a non-profit organization in Olympia. Every time I drop in during the volunteer hours, I feel so accepted and at peace knowing that I’m helping the community by taking care of the farm that feeds so many. I love the manual labor of it, digging my hands into the ground, pulling out weeds, all the while talking with a new friend or just hanging out by myself. I also take pictures for their events, which I love doing with my whole heart. I love seeing the people that GRuB draws in, because they are the people that want to give back. I have gotten a couple of thank you notes from GRuB for my pictures and help, and they made me feel more appreciated than I have in a long time.
At the moment, I’m reading the famous book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. My mom gave it to me a few years ago and I’m finally getting around to it. I like the lessons that it teaches, though I’m not totally keen on the writing style. I find it very repetitive and simple. But, the chapter I’m on right now is the one about not taking anything personally. It comes at a good time in my life because I have subconsciously been making assumptions about things, or having expectations, and the book explains how those things lead to disappointment and miscommunication. I know this too! I have a post-it on my wall that says “Expectation leads to disappointment”. But, sometimes we do these things without even realizing. The book explains that assumptions happen when we don’t have answers to things, so our brain just fills what we don’t know in with whatever information we do have. As humans, we want to understand things all the time. This is why open and honest communication is always key. Asking too many questions is better than asking none.
So, how does all of this relate to yoga? I think that my personal summer illustrates the pose Natarajasana (Lord of the Dance Pose). It is a pose, that when broken down, is really a complex map of different actions (push, pull, lift, gaze, breathe) that come together to create this one intense balancing pose. A true balancing act, juggling all of the things at once. The key is to find grace in it, and often grace comes with not taking yourself too seriously and knowing when to laugh at your own mistakes.