"Inside there is a more natural rhythm where there is time to pause, breathe, feel, and perceive clearly, we find that the most valuable thing we can ever possess is clearly within our sites: THIS IS LIFE ITSELF. We may notice that while life has been living itself through us, we have been absent from the experience. Where did we go, and how can we come home to the larger life that is possible for us?"
- Donna Farhi
"May your practice bring you home."
- Donna Farhi
I was lying on my mat in supta baddha konasana; one hand holding my heart; the other resting over my solar plexus. Practice was beautiful... Flowing... Mindful... Intentional... Delivered with compassion by my sweet friend Ali. I was surrounded by countless members of my "family;" sharing breath... Sharing life... Sharing love. I felt as high as a kite, soaring through a crisp, radiant, blue sky. Arriving in this moment was pure bliss... Floating. Then Ali spoke gentle words. ..."Welcome home." I melted so deeply into the earth there was no longer a separation. I melted so deeply into me... And it was okay.
A very large portion of my life has been spent taking care of others. This is where my heart is. Taking care of others gives me a sense of purpose. Helping people better their lives; renewing their visions; makes me feel strong. I would be lying, however, if I said I was taking care of and creating time for myself for all of these years. I would be lying if I said I have always found the time to "pause, breathe, and feel." Focusing on my own needs is not something I made a priority for a very long time. My ability to truly feel was muted by the effects of anti anxiety drugs and put on the back burner so I could focus on helping and trying to save others. I strayed so far from me... So far from home.
When I begin practicing things started to come up... To open up. Sometimes it was scary; sometimes it was liberating. I remember Arlene, my beloved teacher, cradling me in her arms as I wept after my first intense heart opening practice."What was happening to me?" I wondered.
I was FEELING. I remember when I realized pranayama could be used to help stop heart palpitations and chest pain that resulted from anxiety. I was BREATHING. As I sit here writing, I am not on an elliptical or running down the sidewalk; even more, I am not wishing I was. I am able to PAUSE.
My practice is not perfect, nor do I ever want it to be. As I continue to navigate through this life, I am able to truly experience it more as opposed to numbing myself to it. As I pause, as I breathe, as I feel... I take one step closer to home... To me.