Thinking that our lives are fine the way that they are is a common misconception. When you take the time to step back from your life to get a larger view you may realize you could use some change. But how do we make this transition with grace as we flow from who we are now to who we want to be without disrupting our lives completely I find on my mat is the best place to research this question however there comes a time where you have to carry your yoga mind off the mat in search of this answer.
This week I had the chance to do just that. Vacationing for a week in Martha’s Vineyard was just what I needed to get a new perspective on what I wanted out of my practice for the immediate future. I am always looking for small changes I can make each day to bring my awareness back to my body. For me, my body is my business and it is up to me to take care of it and that is what I did with a little R and R.
Arriving at the island on a gorgeous day I was eagerly anticipating all the yoga on the beach I would be doing but the first day I suffered a groin pull and vinyasa flow was out of the question. Luckily there were plenty of other options to take me to my Satori mindset. Satori is the warrior’s state of being. Any challenging activity serves as a gateway to Satori when your attention rests in the present moment. The body is alert, sensitive and relaxed.
I started my days out with taking my dog Tucker to the beach. Tucker is deathly afraid of water but when he sees the waves crash down on the sand he wants to play and his fear is surmounted by the joy of play. I see his look of shock when his paws hit the water and I pay close attention to how he overcomes his fear and goes after the wave anyway. He bites the waves and does a nose dive into the sand. I laugh as he looks up at me with sand covering his face. He looks dazed and confused but keeps on trekking down the beach to catch the next wave or mouth full of sand.
Next I am of for my bike ride down the shore line where the view is spectacular. The fresh air, birds, gorgeous houses, bright burning sun shining, and the sound of the waves mixed with the wind is a symphony drowning out all other thoughts to bring me to my still mind. When I return home I pull out my yoga mat on the deck and do some restorative yin yoga where I am holding the postures for at least 5 minutes and then a long Savasana with Krishna Das playing in the background. Once I bow my head in gratitude my sweaty clothes fly off, bathing suit slips on and I am in the water at the beach swimming as far out as I can until I feel a little uncomfortable with the distance between me and the shore line. Knowing this is my edge I stay and play here for a bit. This is followed by lying on a beach chair for most of the day.
The days flow together and soon I forget what day it is, what time it is, what I did before I got to this island and what I have waiting for me when I return home. On the last day I woke up a little earlier and started my routine, but this time I had a great deal more energy. It felt as though my energy had been building up the entire vacation and it was waiting to be released today. On the bike ride I went further and although I was seeing the same things I saw before on the prior bike rides it felt as though I was seeing them for the first time. Everything looked amazingly beautiful. When I turned to come back something inside me shifted. My live strong Lance, fierce warrior and inner child all came out to play. I raced back home with a vengeance. Sliding out my mat for the last time on the deck I flowed through my sequence with ease, feeling an endless effortlessness.
As I walk down to the water one last time with Tucker to say goodbye I realize I am in a good space and I don’t need a lot of change to make life easier when I go home. My insight on this vacation was that I want to feel good all the time. No matter where I am and what surrounds me I want to be the authentic happy me. I want to flow with grace in a sticky uncomfortable situation as well as when things are running smoothly. I want to bring out my fierce warrior when I need her and my soft forgiving warrior when I need her too. I never want to change my habits or lose track of what I want simply because it may be different from the norm. I want to forgive myself when I mess up and move on. My life is not about winning or losing. It’s not even about the battle with cancer. For me there is no finish line. I only want to enjoy my ride.
“In the final analysis, it is between you and the divine. It was never between you and them anyway.”