Dear BYH Friends,
As a kid I traveled in a lemon custard colored Caprice Classic station wagon, flanked by my two sisters, a slobbering springer spaniel named Scruffy in the back, my mom, dad and John Denver on the cassette singing Country Road. We drove that tank of a car on 12 hour a day car trips to Idaho on hot summer early mornings and snow storm winter nights. I recall so many hours spent looking out the window at the “outer space.” As night filled the sky I remember gazing into the starry night-scape that caught my curiosity and I wondered…”What is beyond space?” “What is out there?” “Who lives in those houses-what is their story?” I would fill my inner space with such musings and imaginings. I was occupied for hours. I felt like I was traveling out of my body into a new realm of awareness – viewing the earth, the cosmos and the universe from different perspectives. Nudges from my sister reminded me that I was in my body, in a vinyl seat – safe and protected in the station wagon.
As a very young girl I was captivated by the outer space and the inner space in which I roamed. And, when I was a teenager and started practicing yoga I felt an instantaneous homecoming. At times it felt like those car trips (without the slobbery dog) – an opportunity to quietly tune in and listen to the outer space and the inner space of my being and my imaginings. Road trips, biking trips, sailing trips, camping trips and yoga trips have filled me all through my life with awe and deep, spiritual connection with my surroundings both internally and externally.
And, now there is another trip I’ve been wrestling with – another space not known to me as a child through young adulthood. This space is the digital space. It’s the space that I’m sort of in right now, sitting at my dining room table writing this note to you on a lap top as my phone illuminates and beeps. Oh, a text from my husband reminding me of the flag football game I needed to be at 10 minutes ago.
Since the beginning of a new school year this digital space has erupted with emails, texts, calendar shares, podcasts, games, feeds, tweets, pings, sign up geniuses, surveys, e-commerce, evites, peach tree, google groups etc. It has become a space hog. And, I’m rarely on the social media platforms. It feels like an invasion to my space. Not only that, but it is barging in on my conversations with my kids and interrupting a really great story that I was in the middle of telling my husband. I witnessed the digital space in the yoga studio I was in recently when everyone wanted to take selfies with a popular teacher to post and to share with the followers.
The yoga room is a sacred space. It’s where the outer space and the inner space can exist together, in harmony and in community. When I go in to the yoga house I feel a sense of refuge and release, peace and openness. When I sit on my mat and begin to practice deep breathing I feel the space of pure light, equanimity and peace. The inner space is where I can sense the balances and imbalances of my life which are unique and personal. I feel my left hip saying to me, “hellooooo there…can you please be gentle today in pigeon pose?” I hear my shoulders saying, “relllaaaxxx it’s okay, don’t worry.” I sometimes feel sadness and doubt. I sometimes feel happiness and love. I often notice my my mind quieting and everything slowing down to a speed and a rhythm that feels balanced and calm.
As a yogi, mother and digital immigrant I do have my doubts and sensitivities about the new space that seems to have everyone’s attention, including my own. My observer self is alert and vigilant and sometimes wary. Do I practice what I teach? – “lighten up and be receptive.” Can I open myself up to the multi-dimensionality of this experience of life and trust that with time things will stabilize and feel more balanced?
All the questions lead me to more practice, listening and attention to nature and the embodied experience.
Right now I feel relieved of the need to spend time recording, sharing and commentating on the extraordinary experiences of my life when it’s the ordinary that has my heart. Right now I feel a strong pull to the space within me where I can get quiet and still and bear witness to my imaginings and intuition. Right now I feel encouraged to sit around a fire or a dinner table or a yoga room with others to hear my own breathing, to see faces of expression and emotion and to feel the vibrations from me to you and you to me. This photo is from our teacher retreat last month where we all dunked into Puget Sound then gathered ourselves around the fire. Pure bliss and connection.
I’m grateful that we have a space to call home at the Yoga House. We have a space that allows us a respite and a reminder that the inner space is a valuable, loving and peaceful place to BE.
I’m looking forward to exploring more spaciousness, balance and country roads together this Fall.