Sometimes in life things happen that do not go according to plan and which are beyond our control. This week has made that very clear to me, both in society and in my personal life. Given my new vow to pay attention and observe what is fascinating about even unpleasant situations, thanks to Dewitt Jones, I have noticed that my natural tendency is to shut down and protect my heart. The problem is that when I do that, I feel cut off and isolated and I don’t notice what is right with the world or experience the joy that is always there waiting to be experienced and expressed. I recognize that pain is a given and suffering is optional, so I forced myself to go to my great teacher Jaye Martin’s advanced yoga class today. He said we were doing a circle of fire practice and that we had to open our hearts completely to the energy and passion inside that motivates us to give up safety and explore unknown possibilities as we discover our authentic path in life.
The pinnacle pose was to be backbend drop backs with minimal or no assistance. I almost got up off my mat and walked out the door. For the past week, I have lugged two camera bodies and lenses all over Molokai and my left shoulder feels unstable. Although regular back bends are no problem for me, I didn’t know if I would be able to support myself when my hands hit the ground and opening my heart was the last thing I wanted to do due to recent events. Then I realized I was there and despite my apprehension this was probably exactly what I should do. As Jaye talked about the circle of fire in our hearts and the divine energy inside us all, I recognized I still have this–we all do as long as we are alive–it’s just sometimes it gets buried so deeply that I forget and lose confidence in myself and my ability to find my way. The unknown becomes a huge burden instead of an exciting threshold to cross over into a brighter future. Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith, and the leap will be a whole lot more successful if I start jumping believing I am powerful and anticipating that my feet (or in this case, hands) will find the ground where ever that might be, instead of feeling like I will miss and crash and burn or get swallowed up by nothingness.
When it was my turn to drop back, I looked into Jaye’s eyes and realized I had complete trust in him to intercede if it looked like my shoulder would give out and I was going to crash on my head. I didn’t even need to tell him anything was wrong. I knew he would sense exactly how I would land as he watched the process and help me if necessary and only as much as I needed to be helped. He is that good. Yet, he wanted us all to start doing it on our own because we are all more capable than we believe . His confidence in me motivated me to go for it. All he did was touch my heart with one finger to remind me where it was, so I would lift it higher and not collapse. It felt so good to fire up my muscles and charge my heart with the belief that I could do this, and I was well aware that the lesson I was learning went way beyond the mat.
I realized that as a photographer I do the same thing–I look into the heart of a flower and see the positive life force that makes it blossom and convey the fullness and beauty of what I see. As I open to that energy, I discover it exists within me too and the clouds of self-doubt and unworthiness dissipate. When we tap into this interconnectedness and lift each other higher, anything seems possible.
Lynne Buchanan, April 2013