"...And the arms of the ocean are carrying me, And all this devotion was rushing over (out of) me, And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me, But the arms of the ocean deliver me.
And it's over, And I'm going under, But I'm not giving up! I'm just giving in.
Oh, slipping underneath. Oh, so cold, but so sweet.
In the arms of the ocean, so sweet and so cold, And all this devotion I never knew at all, And the crashes are Heaven, for a sinner released, Then (And) the arms of the ocean, deliver me.
Never let me go, never let me go. Never let me go, never let me go.
--exerpted from Never Let Me Go, Florence + The Machine
Ahhhh, it's that quiet time of year. Some big holidays have ended and another one is fast approaching on the horizon. There's that the-world-is-on-vacation feel to things right now. After a very busy December, I'm relishing this time. I'm spending extra time on my yoga mat and on my mediation cushion. I normally stick my nose up to all of those articles, email newsletters, and blog posts encouraging one to review the past year and conjure up a vision for the coming one. Buuuut...
This year I find myself doing just that. Perhaps it's because this has been a particularly big year for me in terms of growth, experiences, and happiness. Or maybe I'm just feeling particuarly nostalgic this year. Whatever the reason, I'm struck by the seemingly perfect unfolding of this past year and am a wee bit floored by what's to come.
Today as I swan dived into Standing Forward Bend I was struck by the feeling of leaping and letting yourself fall the the unknown. Yes, on the yoga mat, you know that there's ground beneath you, so there will be no falling. In life, it's a bit different. This year I leaped metaphorically and literally (two skydives and a few swings on the trapeze). Much to my delight, it felt a little like this morning's swan dive -- I was met with solid ground -- yet it also provided me with the unexpected in that desires came to fruition for me in the most unlikely of ways.
I am reminded that over-engineering one's yoga practice and/or one's life is counterproductive and, frankly, quite useless. My mind focusing on every placement of my foot or arm or every experience or event in my life leaves me exhausted and seriously hampers my flow. It's like the song lyrics above say -- I'm not giving up but I'm giving in. I'm giving into the flow and loving where it takes me rather than wish I were headed somewhere else.
Back when I studied Sanskrit, I discovered that one of the many definitions of yoga is relationship. This year I worked more intensely on my relationship to myself, for I realize that until your relationship with yourself is solid, all of your other relationships will suffer in some way. I had some experiences this year with people that struggle with relationship. I was profoundly saddened to experience the heartache of these people and it reminded me that I have some improving to do. I've seen how relationship is everything and I've started with the most sacred and important one -- the one with myself.
As for the year ahead, I have some vague ideas of where I want to go and some more solid ideas on how I want to feel. But I'm going to stick to the moment and swandive with faith that solid ground will meet me. I've learned firsthand that being broken is actually being broken open and that things falling apart are actually things falling into place. I've seen rupture turn to rapture. I've felt gratitude -- the I'm on my knees, crying I'm so damned grateful kind of gratitude -- like never before. I have been loved beyond what I thought was possible and continue to be loved deeply and beautifully. I've discovered my love of truth and connection.
These days I live my life like a meditation -- I keep coming back to the moment, even when my mind wants to make up a story and go someplace else (and I'm continually amazed at how difficult this is). That swan dive leaves me breathless. It reminds me that I'm alive and how often I try to shy away from feeling all that aliveness entails. It reminds me of the possibility that life holds if only you show up and embrace it. It reminds me of the strength and the joy of giving in.
So that's my year and the look ahead. And since I just watched the movie Serendipity (yes, I love it in all of its sappiness), I'll leave you with something to think about as you review your own year and look ahead to the next:
"You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: 'Did he have passion?'"