I am enjoying the slow digestion and integration from a week with Russell Delman in Northern California. It feels like perfect timing for reflection as we near the end of this year of the Snake and head into the Green Wood Horse Year on Friday. I always resonate more with the timing of the Chinese New Year, as it feels like more of a new beginning than January 1st.
So much is alive for me from this last week of study. One thing that stands out is how much kindness we can bring to ourselves in the process of unfolding.
Seeing what Russell embodies, and what he calls out to in his students is so inspiring, and also reveals how hard we can be ourselves (and others) as human beings waking up.
I remember Stephen Levine saying that once, after many years of dedicated practice, his teacher told him ”
You could be more kind to yourself,” and he burst into tears, recognizing that the thought had never occurred to him.
Both Erin and I have experienced in ourselves and witnessed in so many others how much war we can create with ourselves – with our thinking minds, with our bodily challenges, with difficult life situations… and how much can shift when we begin to befriend ourselves and trust our lives.
Bowing to what is, and creating a life giving relationship with it.
May we all, in Rilke’s words, learn
to fall, to patiently trust our heaviness…
How surely gravity’s law,
Strong as an ocean current,
Takes hold of even the smallest thing
And pulls it toward the heart of the world.Each thing-
Each stone, blossom, child-
Is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
Push out beyond what we each belong to
For some empty freedom.
If we surrendered
To earth’s intelligence
We could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
In knots of our own making
And struggle, lonely and confused.
So, like children, we begin again
To learn from the things,
Because they are in God’s heart;
They have never left him.
This is what the things can teach us:
Patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
Before he can fly.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Wishing you an auspicious beginning to the year of the Horse,
p.s. Next Wednesday February 5th we will begin our drop-in morning meditation at Avenues Yoga from 7-8am, offered by donation. We look forward to sitting with you.