Published on August 20, 2008
(Photo from the amazing blog: Cleveland Daily Photo)
Last night my Yoga teacher asked us to sit with our legs stretched forward in Staff Pose. From there she invited us to cross one leg over and to take the foot into our hands. For the first time in my life she guided us into threading our fingers through our toes as if it was our matching hand and we were about to say Thanksgiving grace. For a few minutes we sat there, similar to monkeys, giving our toes a hardy handshake. After a few minutes, we switched the position of our hands (coming in from the opposite direction) and squeezed our toes–and let our toes squeeze our fingers back (not as easy as it sounds). When this little experiment was over we stretched our leg back into Staff Pose and sat with our eyes closed for a few minutes.
“Wonderment. ” That is the word Trish, our Yoga teacher, kept saying. The wonderment of trying something different. The wonderment of how something so usual, so mundane, feels when you put the wonder of a child behind it.
I got it, simply by shaking hands with my stinky, tired toes.
When I stopped my mind from thinking about dinner, tomorrow’s lesson plans, and what I was going to do on the weekend a whole new experience took over. My foot felt full of energy and my toes actually felt alive. Ten little cuties that run around with us all day, but how often do we even stop to feel them, or even recognize that they are a part of our body. Maybe the most is during a pedicure or when your sweetie surprises you with an impromptu foot rub on the couch.
Think about it. Babies are obsessed with their toes, their fingers, their elbows. Everything is something to move, to taste, to wiggle, and poke. Possibly this wonderment comes from the lack of worry they do, or the fact that communication has not taken up solid strings of conversation in their mind. They don’t tell themselves things about themselves or mentally go over the same thing again and again.
When you drop the story in your head…no matter what it may be, you are left with space to live in the present. With this space it is only natural to be filled with a sense of wonderment. For one thing, how often do we have such empty, quiet space? Usually our minds are cluttered with stuff! Stuff that by no means services us.
This only goes back to the same thing I talk about here on Dirty Footprints frequently: experimenting and practice. If we practice being aware that our bodies and self are doing one thing, for example driving to work, but our minds are doing an entirely different thing–like wondering if our coworker is going to be in a good mood today, or what chores need to be done at home later, we can experiment by throwing in a healthy sense of wonder. What would happen if I just simply drive to work. Every time I start to think about something else I’ll bring myself back to driving. I’ll notice the people around me, the workers on the street, the addresses on the building, the trees that line the road, the temperature in the car, the motion my ankle takes on the pedal, etc. etc.
Boring it sounds, but with a sense of wonderment, the present moment is so much more energizing then those stories in our head we entertain ourselves with all day long. Try it for yourself and see.
Peace & Love.