Extract from newsletter <FEB 2016>
I am feeling so ready for spring now. I can sniff her in the air. This last year, kind of weirdly, was my most freeing yet most achey winter yet. For a change I didn’t leave Europe at all, I stayed in her cold dark embrace and felt everything that came along with it. It was a challenging time. One of the things for me to process was that my parents were finally moving back to South Africa and this made me so so sad. Part of me wanted to go with them but I know that I am meant to be here, and they are meant to be there, and in that knowing space I felt my heart grow and expand. I tried to not push the feelings away but let them move through me. I cried, and grieved for many things through my tears, and when they left it was hard but it felt ready and right. One of the things I was reminded of so clearly through this process was to look into the dark, to face my darkest fears, and step up to that which frightens me is the most liberating place and space.
This is what yoga is really about and for: Stepping out our comfort zone, out of the nest, actually flapping our wings and flying. To sense that inner freedom and know we are not confined by what we think we can and cannot do.
Yesterday I discovered this quote in an Aikido book and it absolutely sang to me about this lesson of facing my fears:
"You must not spend your life searching for security. If you cover yourself with layer after layer of heavy armor, you will be unable to move, unable to fight and protect others. You will never feel the warm touch of the sun nor the sharp sting of a hard rain. Joy will be lost. Your freedom and independence will be lost. If you spend your life in the safety of a cave at the foot of the mountains, you will only see darkness. Your experience will be narrow, and you will never feel the sweet pain of growth. You must leave that protection and security and challenge yourself on the mountains above you. You must climb higher and higher, your vision, ability and experience expanding with each peak. And as you stand open and unprotected from the wind, with the sun and the snow touching your heart, you will experience the grand panorama of the universe all around you." - Mitsugi Saotome
This winter was all about plunging into the darkness, and now I am plugging back into light. Lighting up the shadows and dancing with my demons. And really this play, this balance, is where the yoga, the yoking of yin and yang, light and dark, sun and moon, is.
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