Walk toward the tension

I feel weary. It has become my standard answer to “How are you?”. I am weary. The relentless grey days of January in West Michigan sure don’t help. Nor the everyday mom and household tasks that never seem to end. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when you add in the current state of our country. These days I look forward to Thursdays

Thursday nights are special around here. They are mommy and me yoga nights with my 6-year-old Eden. The class is nothing special and nothing that we couldn’t do at home together. The beauty is in the time away. In the extraordinary aspect of just her and just me away on a school night. The beauty of yoga allowing Eden to work through social anxiety with the comfort of me working right along side her.

At the end of yoga we practice savasana, corpse pose. I lie flat on my back and work and Eden climbs onto me and lays flat on her back on top of me. We work to clear our mind and to release all anxiety, any remaining tension. And as I work to relax each body part – toes to nose – I can feel her relaxing as well. As I breathe deeply, I can feel her start to breathe with me.

I used to feel restless in savasana, but as I began to practice more it came to me. The more I aimed to work with the tension during my practice and release it, the more calm, relaxed, and at peace I was at savasana. It wasn’t until I had delved into the tension that I could find true relaxation.

God knows there is so much tension around us lately. My heart and head have hurt with every new headline or proclamation. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. To be outraged. It is easy to feel helpless. But when our hearts are heavy and our heads are full we must use our bodies to walk forward. We must not stay in the space of head and heart, but walk into the tension around us. We must trust ourselves to not be overcome (and that God will hold us). It is one thing to recognize tension. I think we can all do that. I do it everyday as I scroll through my Facebook feed. It is quite another thing to walk toward it. To let it be all around us, and yet find that we are not consumed.

And we don’t have to walk alone. Because, my friends, we aren’t alone. We can, each of us, in our own way, walk into the tension and find others in the fray. We just begin and then find that, beautifully, we are not the only ones. But we do have to begin. We cannot hope for peace, we have to work it out.

And when we have walked through the fire and found that we have not been consumed, we can breathe deeply. And, just as Eden and I do at the end of yoga, we can sit and proclaim – and really mean it – Namaste, the light in me recognizes the light in you.


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