It’s cold in springtime here, I had forgotten.
The wind whips through our ears and mittens and toques. It makes warming up into child’s pose right off the bat take just a beat longer for our stiff, cold joints.
After spending the last two months in Central America where all I wore were shorts and maybe a tank top, it is certainly easy to fall victim to craving the warm sun against my skin on some tropical beach somewhere. Especially when the alternative is 40-degree wind that literally uproots trees all over Seattle. “Take me back, Take me back!”
This drumbeat comes to my Tribe through the eyes and heart of a man who just finished his first month-long Modo Yoga TT(Teacher training) intensive. 53 strangers and I did 3 Modo series classes a day, everyday, for a month. A lot unfolded within me, a lot bubbled up, and a lot cleared out. Parts of me opened up and surrendered to softness, gave in to ease and compassion for myself, and certainly for others. I cannot speak for the rest of my Sangha in Nicaragua, but my biggest take-away was learning the tools and cultivating the practice of our 7th pillar in Modo Yoga: “Be Peace.”
Stereotypically, I get it. “Oh Matt, you went away to some warm, tropical location where you were fed three gourmet, vegetarian meals a day, slept in a majestically comfy bed, and all there was to worry about was how badly you got sunburned. Of course you feel as though you found peace.”
I admit, unabashedly, all that helps (a lot!). Being isolated from the majority of life’s stresses, would, of course, leave a guy stress-free.
But the magic was what fell into place within me in lieu of that stress. It slowly opened up space in me and allowed a shift. Once all the noise died down, I was able to have honest conversations with my reactions. And I learned that I love to seek highs, and I love to seek lows.
If I’m feeling elated in a social situation with my Tribe, out for the night on Capitol Hill or getting into trouble at The Hen, I am going for it, and I’ll do anything to keep that elation, that high, going.
Alternatively, when it’s a shit, rainy day, and the wind forces the rain up under my jacket, and I’m running thirty minutes late to yoga class because there are 5,000 rain-soaked commuters leaving Amazon on the bus in front of you, of course I’m going to relish in the feeling of “Mlergh.” I love to commiserate about the rain with everyone else. We can all be miserable together. Building community, one grumpy cat brow furrow at a time.
The practice of non-attachment in meditation allows thoughts and feelings to float freely in awareness without emotional attachment. Folding meditation into our lifestyle, taking our yoga off the mat in order to “Be Peace,” our teachers dropping us wisdom bombs:
“The practice of yoga is to not cling to pleasure, nor avert from pain. It is to, with non-attachment, be aware of our reactions.”
Do not take me back to Central America. Let the freezing wind that whips my ears and hands remind me that there is pain here and pleasure elsewhere. That the sun shines warmer somewhere, and not being there is not a reason to wallow in the misery of a rough transition into the Pacific Northwest winter, nor is it a reason to run away from it. It is a chance to remain present to my reaction to the world around me.
I let it all go.
Be here, be present, be peace.
Dance by the fire, Tribe, see you on the mat.