Some years are all about beginnings and opportunities, but this year has felt more like endings and completions. Generally, my sunny-side-up-self prefers to reframe these as opportunities for beginnings. But 2023 came through with a “not-so-fast” energy and instead told me to sit and stay. No matter how often I I tried to force or influence my own timing to hurry up this transition, I was instead reminded no not yet - sometimes kindly and others not-so-much.
The phrase “everything happens for a reason” is often thrown about when -ish happens. And my trauma-lens says “eff that” - people can be evil asshats and there’s NO excuse for much of the trauma and tragedy that “we” inflict on one another. Some of us are just better adapted to the fires that we walk through. And not because we are lucky, but because we have been tested and tried and we have adapted. Some of us are born fire-walkers, and others pick it up as they move along.
The element of fire is one of transformation - both the magic contained within the process of digestion by turning food to energy; and the tragic contained with the cyclic nature of wildfires. A textbook example that is often shared speaks of the adaptations of several plants in areas where wildfires are common. So called Pyrophytic Plants have evolved to better tolerate their environmental conditions. Eucalyptus is one of these that have sealed off seed pods. These pods can only open to release their seeds after the heat of a fire has physically melted the resin that coats the outer layer.
The BIG 3 deities from Yogic traditions come to mind: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma is in charge of beginnings, Shiva is the great destroyer, and Vishnu watches over that awkward time between birth and death - ya know life.
And while it sounds like Vishnu has the longest and biggest job - as least to our mere understanding of human life and circumstance. Shiva is the one to lean into when the fire comes to destroy. Thes cycles happen again and again throughout our life, and it is our task to ride these waves without being destroyed.
But what isn’t so clearly defined is what happens in between?
The space after the end but before the beginning.
We can practice being in this space with our breath…
Is there any space between the things? Or does your breath feel crowded?
Can you drop into any space just beyond your exhale - just before your inhale?
Can we be comfortable with the space in between things?
With that moment after but not before?
Or do we try to fill that space?
Or run from it - by ignoring its existence?
- Stuck - Suspended - Grieving -
At times even holding my breath as I moved through commitments and expectations while simultaneously feeling unable to vision forward.
As things continued to happen, endings continued to pile up, and I continued to wait and hope for my next beginning…
I’ve often heard the space just beyond the exhale as “the space of the divine” - and yeah maybe there’s some truth to that.
Being held in this space between things has been a little petri dish of transformation for myself - the trick is remembering that the container, medium, shelf, and hand that feeds are all still the Universe in constant motion, expression, and revolution of birth, life, death, and also the in-between.
Whenever the sum total(s) feel more like loses than wins: zoom out. Notice alllll the space for future magic that has been created. Note: this perspective is NOT offered to bypass your (or my) current -ish. It’s more of an offering of a way through.
While I can’t quite be certain, I do feel like after a recent unplanned 18-day break from Charlotte and teaching have given my friend Brahman a gentle shake, like maybeee it’s your time to shine, how about that next beginning?
Yoga Sutra 1.1 Atha Yoga Anushasanam
Now begins our exploration of the practices of Yoga.