There I was. In full expression of full wheel, urdhva dhanurasana. Let me clarify -- my full expression of full wheel at this point in time. Tweaky left shoulder, compression in low back due to dumping. Trying desperately to find my legs, my hips, my feet, my breath. Basically, a hot ass mess. Alas, it was my full expression and all I could give. So I gave it.
I'm grateful that I even had the balls to attempt the asana. Full wheel is a heart-opening pose -- you literally are lifting your heart and core to the sky and experiencing an intense opening. It is not unusual to feel a surge of raw emotion shoot through you. As I was coming out of the back bend, it occurred to me that, just like full wheel, being open and vulnerable is a practice.
In a world that gives us every reason to close our hearts, it is important that we practice the art of staying open. Imperative. Crucial. Insert synonym for important here.
1) It affects us on an individual level. It's like any form of exercise -- if you don't move it or use it, you lose it. Maybe not at all once. Maybe one day you wake up and you realize that everything the world has thrown at you has made you a little bit harder than the day before. Before you know it, you slowly go numb to your own life.
2) It affects us on a global level. There are so many terrible things going on in the world. Horrible, disgusting things. When I see them on social media, I immediately shrink in my heart space. Honestly, I wonder if it's even worth the fight anymore. It's too much to bear, too many fights to take on. I'm just one person. It's only by staying open and staying present that I can show up in the world and stand for something so much greater than myself, instead of going numb to the atrocities and heartache that abound. I think about MLK's quote, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." It is only by staying open that we find the strength to take on injustice, prejudice, hatred, bigotry, racism, agism, sexism, corruption, etc.
3) It affects us on a spiritual level. It is only when we are open that we experience the universe's grace. I don't consider myself to be religious, but I believe in God, the Source, the universe, love (whatever nomenclature you use is up to you). I believe we all have a connection to something greater than us. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." The choice is 100% ours. I choose to stay open because I believe in miracles -- in fact, I depend on them. I know the only way to experience them is to stay open and willing.
When it comes to self-help, personal development, soul work (or whatever you want to call it), I often struggle with truly understanding concepts. "Staying open" sounds so dope to me. But what the hell does that really mean? Here's my attempt at answering that in a way that I understand --
1) Staying open means to stay present with what's going on right now. When and where are we just going thru the motions in our life? We often zone out so much that we don't even realize we are doing it. Some clues include scrolling thru our social media platforms, just because. We're here physically, but our mind is in a funky time warp. Or we suppress our feelings and emotions for whatever reason ("I should be over this by now. This isn't important. Big girls don't cry." etc., etc.) and we bury them. In a speed of light world, we don't give ourselves time to process. We just expect to keep it moving. Always moving. But never really present.
2) Staying open means to stay present, especially when we want to shut down or fire back. It means that we take our seat at the table for a dialogue where everyone talks. This can often time be difficult. Difficult conversations, whether at work or home, are just that. Friggin difficult. Whether we are hearing something we don't agree with or someone is reading us (meaning they are telling us about ourselves), it is easier to shut down and numb out. Or we stop listening -- we simply stay silent in an effort to formulate our response. "Oooh, I'll get him/her with my next sentence." What would happen if we opened ourselves up to really hear people, to give them space to say what's in their heart? It's a delicate balance -- staying open does NOT mean staying in dangerous situations that are unhealthy and abusive.
We can learn so much about ourselves, our place in the universe, others, the world (in general), if we commit to the practice of staying open. It's friggin hard, but it's worth it.
I'd love to know what "staying open" means to you. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Your soul is rooting for you and so am I.