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Fuel for the Fire


Are you blessed with one of those friends that the thought of them makes you feel all toasty inside? That’s how I feel about my old high school pal Jen. It’s probably been a decade or more since I’ve last seen her, but thanks to the amazing world-wide-web we recently found each other again! Both of us were in the same Art program in high school, and shared the same ideals and passions toward Art. Together we formed a secret society called “ACO”–Anti-Cheese Organization. It was nothing against that delicious dairy product, but rather against cheesey Art. I guess if you were going to be part of a clique in high school, joining one that shunned cutesy teddy bears and rainbows in paintings is the least of the evils!

Jen is still an amazing Artist and beautiful soul. All Art on this post is made by Jen. You can find her Etsy Shop HERE, her blog HERE, and her myspace page HERE. Go check her out! Saying she is absolutely amazing is an understatement!!!

“Remember, Yoga practice is like an obstacle race: many obstructions are purposely put on the way for us to pass through. They are there to make us understand and express our own capacities. We all have that strength, but we don’t seem to know it. We seem to need to be challenged and tested in order to understand our own capacities. In fact, that is the natural law. if a river just flows easily, the water in the river does not express its power. But once you put an obstacle to the flow by constructing a dam, then you can see its strength in the form of tremendous electrical power. “

Swami Satchidananda

As most of you know, in June I had an injury that changed the course of my Yoga practice. I had to go from practicing fast paced Vinyasa Yoga to finding myself humbled in a restorative class where I couldn’t even reach my knees in a forward fold. All of this, including my agonizing injury, has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. For one thing, it has gotten me more intuned with my body and more intuned with the physical practice of Yoga. Taking things much slower has really broke the asanas (poses) down for me, and I can fully understand the muscles and effort each pose requires. I also have been able to notice the effect they have more precisely. There is a benefit and beauty in having to start from scratch again. This past month, in the pursuit to help my body heal I have gone to a chiropractor and physical therapist. I drive three times a week after work across town to make my appointment, and have not missed one yet. I wake up every week day morning at 5:30 AM so I can do my strength training exercises and Yoga practice before heading off to work. I am dedicated beyond belief.

Then yesterday, at my appointment, my Doctor decides to do a few retests on me to see how much I have improved since I walked in the door a little over a month ago. When the results came back, it seems that what were my problem spots have been resolved beautifully…but in this process of healing new problems have surfaced. I was more then disappointed. Honestly, I was angry. My Doctor, who was recommended to me by a dear friend, is amazing, I know this. He proceeded to tell me that many times in fixing one area of the body, it brings things up with another area, because that area has been used to living with the chaos caused by the problem area…..Did I make sense?

I get this. I truly do. When I first started practicing Yoga more regularly and with dedication, all these weird physical ailments would arise out of nowhere. Injuries I thought that were gone and healed pop their little selves back up. Yoga forced me to work through all these things that I thought I already dealt with. Not just physically even. I would, and still sometimes do, be on the mat and emotions and thoughts from my past will appear and I will start crying uncontrollably. I’ve spoken to beloved teachers about this, and they all respond with that this is so common. Yoga does that to a person, you see!

But I will tell you the truth, I was pretty pissed off about finding out that I got new problems to deal with now. I was so sure, to the point of being considered cocky even, that my dedication and hard work was going to pay off….you know…that I could walk out of that office and feel like I had total control of my body. Imagine a scene like the beginning of the Mary Tyler Moore show—you know, I’m throwing my hat into the air and singing “I’m gonna make it after all!!!”

Not the case.

Though, you know me, after the anger subsided, this got me thinking….

For one thing, our bodies are incredible creatures. We carry so much in them–so much that we don’t even realize. Our little captain, the brain, is a bit of a dimwit! It tells the crew “oh yeah, we’re all good…smooth sailing….no problems here” But in reality, it just stuffed things away in the deck below! Sooner or later, we find it again.

In the Yoga Sutras, it speaks of the importance of self-discipline. Self discipline is believed to help ease suffering. We practice self discipline in faith that it will take us where we need to go. For a month now I’ve practiced self discipline every morning, because I believed it would help me heal. So far, it has taken me here…to finding out there is now new obstacles in my way. My first reaction—to give up, to not believe, to hit the road.

But first, I’m inspired by the dear Vicki. She is faced with much greater obstacles then mine, and she faces them straight forward, with an incredible smile and a glowing inner strength. Self discipline means you have a focus and a means that you are practicing. For me, my means has become a deeper practice of Yoga and my prescribed strength training. My focus: healing. How could I actually believe such an endeavor could be completed in just a month’s time? Pretty funny. In actuality, I did heal, but like Swami Satchidananda says many obstructions are purposely put on the way for us to pass through to help us understand and express our own capacities. Along with my healing comes complimentary new obstructions….in other words: new possibilites to express my own capacity…No, to actually understand my own capacity.

What I’m trying to say is that we need to realize that these things in our life that trouble us, are here to help us firmly grow. They might seem on the exterior that they are eating away at us…but they are only there to be burned like fuel in a fire…so our soul, our lives, our great inner being can glow! glow! glow!!!

Peace & Love.
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