As the Wheel Turns
June 29, 2011, by Melissa Howden
My yoga teacher Peggy has been known to say during class,
“Triangle pose is like a little black dress. You can take it anywhere.”
As my birthday month comes to a close I have been ruminating on all, like the triangle pose, that is wise, helpful and transportable. Even more so than New Years, my birthday has become a time of reflection and review. Like my closet, my life gets a spring cleaning at every year when the wheel turns toward my birthday. “This gets tossed, this stays, this needs cleaning and that needs altering.” Although this year has been rife with challenges, I am not immune to the good news and that is the wheel is still turning. And with each turn of the wheel I garner new pieces of wisdom to add to the mix and I become myself and push my brave tender heart toward the promise of a new day.
Recently I read a blog titled “Inspiration and Chai” by Bronnie Ware. For many years Bronnie worked in palliative care with the terminally ill. As such she was privy to the intimate revelations of the dying. Bronnie noticed that there were common themes as people voiced their thoughts about living and dying, and what they wished they had done differently.
The most common regret was,“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Generally the wish to live differently had to do with unrealized dreams. I think about this and I am reminded again to be mindful of the choices I make lest they someday become my own utterance of regret when time no longer offers the opportunity to redirect.
I ask myself, “How can I live my life in a way that is beautiful? How can I actively choose the life that is mine to live?” and “How can I move from wishes to action, word to silence?”
I am not by nature a fearful person but I have noticed a particular brand of fear that gets caught up in the speeding passage of time; fear of holding on too tight, and fear of letting go, a fear of opening my heart too much, or of armoring myself in equal measure—a tightening then a lightening.
This year I am determined to embrace the concept, to the duty of opening to the whole darn thing. The question which remains on my lips is, “How can I open to life?” I find that every act of love is in some way also a promise to forgive, but I have also learned this year that when a moment of truthful loving appears not only should I open and open some more, but seize on it lest it never come again.
I have also formalized what up until now has been an informal tradition of mine and that is to commit to doing at least one thing I have always wanted to do which I haven’t yet. In fact this year I am folding into my “beautiful life” two things I have wanted to do for years and years. As an avid reader I have long wanted to work with adults who cannot read well or at all. Next month I will begin training as an adult literacy volunteer at my local library in hopes that I might assist somebody in advancing their literacy not only to help in their everyday worlds but so s/he might also experience the magic of reading novels and short stories, plays and history.
The Bhajans and music of India has long enchanted me. So I will soon begin lessons on the Harmonium that I may learn the songs of India and accompany myself for my private pleasure only.
Last week in my yoga class while many of us were attempting to work our way into a somewhat complicated arm balance, the sounds of people falling, breathing and trying again were greatly evident. Peggy said to us in that moment, “Whatever you do just err on the side of beauty, grace and ease.” This is a motto that can go anywhere with me, one way to live my life in a beautiful way day by day.