Monday, June 24, 2013

breathe courage

More words to savor and breathe in from Miss Meredith Swim.
The solo robin stands on the edge of his nest, his black eyes scanning the rain drop garden and gazing at the world beyond the fence. His burnt orange-feathered chest rises and falls with his breath. He’s meditating on his first flight, breathing in courage.

Breathe courage. This is my new mantra and the young robin embodies its powerful message. Before the bird takes flight, he pauses and breathes, connecting to his inner source of courage.

He reminds me of the importance of that pause. I easily can buy into the hustle and bustle of the modern world and lose my own voice to the fast advice of others. If I forget to breathe, my courage slips away from me; but taking the quiet moment to breathe allows me to gather my inner resources and handle the situation or the difficult person in front of me.

At first, my monkey mind resists that pause by pointing at the clock: “You’re taking a time-out?! We’re already pressed for time! You don’t have time!”

Ironically, taking the moment to breathe with awareness, to hit pause, creates time. The mental clarity to make the appropriate decision appears, freeing myself of additional stress and the time that would be needed later to let go of the day’s burdens.

This young robin is the last of his siblings to leave the nest. At first, I feel a pang of pity for him, sitting alone with the wild world pressing up against his safe haven; but this dissipates as I notice his cool serenity.
He’s not self-conscious about being the last bird to fly; he’s not flopping around his nest in a state of distress and crying for his mother. He’s a majestic little prince determining his own course.
Breathe courage. Staying true to oneself takes courage. In yoga class it takes some courage to honor your body, choosing a modification or a child’s pose while others vinyasa about.

Later in the morning, I check the bird nest and it’s empty – the young robin has successfully dived into the world outside the safety of my parents’ back porch. His pre-flight meditation helped him to soar.

Reflecting on his flight, I realize he must have possessed such confidence in his body, his wings, his instinct, and recognized the courage existing in his small, magnificent body.
This is one of the main reasons I fell in love with yoga and am inspired to teach the ancient practice – in yoga class, I felt safe in my body.
Yoga found me during my adolescence, a self-proclaimed daydreamer who had grown up dreading gym class. In my first yoga classes, as I twisted, stretched, and bent forward, I felt awe for these physical limbs I had so long inhabited but ignored out of fear of imperfection and discomfort.
To breathe courage doesn’t mean taking in courage from the outside world, but to reconnect to the strength and power already existing in your skin and bones.
As the robin gazed at the awaiting world, he exuded courage, the courage to wait and be with himself until the time was perfectly right for him to stretch his wings and fly.

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