Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make Like a Tree!

photo © Terhox |

A few nights ago, in a gentle yoga class for healing and stress I’d brought a friend to try, we did an interesting pose. We gathered in a circle, raised our hands to touch our neighbors’ hands, stood on one leg, and lifted the other to a bent position, resting the foot just below the knee of the standing leg. Tree pose is usually done solo with hands in prayer position or with hands and arms lifted straight to the sky. In this case, however, we all managed to stay balanced by gently relying on others. If one went down, no doubt we all would have toppled. The miracle was that though some were novices and others had been practicing for years, we all were able to stand firm when we were given an opportunity to borrow or share strength from one another.
           The pose (or asana) struck me that night because I’d been thinking about balance all week. It seems that everyone I know (including myself) has been struggling in this area. Maybe it’s the changing seasons, but everywhere I look I see that people are having trouble keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground. The worst offenders seem to be those who have over-scheduled themselves (and their kids) to the point where so much as reading one page of a novel before bed is a ludicrous impossibility. “I just don’t have time!” is the lament.

            This makes me wonder what would happen if we totally realigned our “to do” lists. What if instead of starting with “finish the report for tomorrow’s meeting” or “grocery shopping and make dinners to freeze for the week” we began the list in a different way? What if our to do list looked more like this:
1.     Take a walk at sunrise or sunset.
2.     Listen to Mozart, Willie Nelson or Deva Premal every day.
3.     Kiss and hug kids, spouses, friends, and others.
4.     Journal and/or read.
5.     Meditate, or just sit and be grateful...
You get my drift.
Hmm, I wondered, would this be possible? Especially for those who work full-time or are home raising children?
And then I remembered the Tree pose. It is difficult to find balance in our busy lives, and the bottom line is, it’s your own strength and dedication that will get you there. But if you stretch your branches a bit and offer some support to a friend or if you admit that yes, sometimes YOU need support or help, I’ll bet you’ll find yourself standing firm and tall. If you offer a little strength, and borrow a bit as well, you may be surprised at how things seem to come into balance.
 And you’ll have time to read!

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