In April of last year, I started out on a journey. I was in a rut and determined to dig my way to the surface, and eventually back to the high ridge of my heart's calling. I'd been to that sensationally pristine lookout so recently! So, the experience was still on my tongue.
At the beginning of the journey, there was the quick rush of departure. Taking off on a new adventure tends to have that effect. It gets you to the other side. You land. You set foot on fresh earth and you take in all of the sensations that make it that unique place; the smells, the climate, and the vibration that inevitably welcomes you to the novelty of a place that you chose to go to for your own good. Eventually the outer parts of you become accustomed and you are left with the task, the enjoyment, of being where you are. For any durable good to come, a connection is needed. You turn toward that part of you that is innately connected with a strange new land. The next, unending exercise is to travel inward.
So where was I headed? One year ago (yesterday) was Day 1 of my yoga practice (the one that stuck). In one year on my mat, I have done some good work. I have traveled inward and excavated more than sweat and tears. Following the outpour of all that weather, I find myself in a place that is so familiar, it can only be home. It is the vast openness that sits quietly among us. We tap into it to access the infinite source of our being. Its spout is our alignment with where we are and what we do. Call it the now, the present, the deep sea of consciousness. But get into it by uncorking that part of you that is familiar with the foreign. Breathe into it. Dive into it. Retreat to it. Align with it. It’s the part of you that is truly you.
This “place” is also the underlying ocean we are lost from when we hang our happiness here and there and hope for an outcome. That is where I started. I hoped yoga would be the means to the ends I seek. In a way it is. But it turns out the ends are as near as that experience on my tongue and they continue to unravel. I was looking for a proven practice for attaining presence of heart and mind. I have that now, with a lot of range for improvement. In fact, what once were the ends (my goals) now appear to be the means to the place I go to when I get on my mat.
A year ago I was looking for a way to align my life with my true self. I know deeply that the work of Traveling Native provides me this calibration of movement and consciousness. There are physical places that extract my inner juice with little effort. Call them sacred places. And then, there are spaces that challenge me to be present. The challenge to be present is the opportunity we are faced with when we pull away from the world and look inward, leaving only our breath as a guide. I learn as write this how perfect it is that for me, that challenging place is the place where I come from…
Today I raise my hands high on a sweet and dark inhale. I am at the ridge once again. It’s dark because my eyes are closed. It’s sweet because I’m here now. The earthly places that embrace my longing are aligned with my breath. If the ground or my footing gives way, I’ll take in the scenery as I go down. On a long, slow exhale, I dive patiently into my stronger body and honor the tears of release that come with letting go. Up again, halfway to the sky, my gaze reaches slightly out in front of me. Not to get ahead, but to widen the gauge of a single breath. There in the open with a belly full of now, I lower down slowly into the abysmal current that is home.