The unlikely beginnings of a home practice. How to set yourself up for disappointment, failure and uncertainty or why I need to practice anyway.

About a year ago, I attended a workshop by Marlene Mawhinney where I took no notes during the workshop at all. It was not allowed. It was not what I was used to but I’m so glad I tried it out. It works for me. The experience of working with senior teachers is in being there for the cracking open that I feel both in the body and mind. I did write lots of notes afterwards that I rarely look at because what I have taken away is in my body and in a few key words.  I used to take lots of notes. To be honest, I don’t look at those either. Recently I did find this scribbling- incomplete pencil note ( gone over in ink ) from a workshop in May 2014, with Kate Potter. In total, I wrote maybe 10 lines of notes over the weekend and later on drew a doodle of the main idea of the chakras and five elements with coloured marker. In the following months I wrote a lot more. But what the heck is this merging with space? A few weeks ago similar phrasing came up during a skype yoga session with Kate. The idea of merging with form and emptiness. Merging with space, and merging with everything. I’d never really experienced my asana practice that way. I remember her saying something like it was the whole point of yoga. So I thought to myself, I want to try this in my practice. Can I shift my attention to the experience of merging with form and emptiness? I was curious.

The first order of business was simply to establish a regular home practice. My mind was so busy the first day on my mat about all sorts of things that I remembered from the day before. There was no making this merging thing happen. I let it go on the third day and sat instead with the words of young, Faith, Tamara’s daughter, “Remember what you are doing while you are doing it and what you are doing it for.” When I answered that question, I had to let go of trying to merge because the reason had to do with having this slip of paper and curiosity about what it meant and maybe trying to please the teacher. I revised the what I was doing and what I was doing it for. Currently I am rolling out my mat for self-love, self-care and steadiness. What I do varies and I do feel disappointed sometimes, even with my savasana, which made me laugh one day. I got up from savasana and heard in my head, “That sucked.” The main reason for that rather harsh judgment was that I wasn’t there for it while I was doing it (or not doing in this case).

A few days later, when it finally did dawn on me what the merging with space might mean, I laughed at myself again. This merging with everything sounds a bit like a brief glimpse of samadhi. So I had inadvertently put in my journal almost like a to do list item, experience enlightenment as if it were as simple as feeling the inner line of the leg or remembering to engage the outer edge of the foot. Maybe one day I will experience this merging. But not on a deadline and it is and isn’t the reason I am on my mat. But I am showing up on the mat more than I ever have. I am not believing everything I think.  I am meeting my host of monkeys. Some are mean. I think if you keep it simple, the rest will work out.

This is in my sewing room,

(from the Clawhammer Letterpress and Gallery in Fernie, BC) I’m really not good at this, yet, but I’m learning.

Today is day 18 of daily practice. Feels just like I’m falling for the first time.

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