From our primal beginnings, fire has played a central role. Gathering around a fire allowed for stories to be told, dances to come alive and human connections to deepen. Our primal urge as humans is to connect with each other, heart to heart. That is why the last two years have been heartbreaking. We use the word heartbreaking often...try saying it slowly and letting the words heart and breaking sink into your consciousness. Our hearts are truly paining and grieving for what has been lost.
Radical Acceptance is a phrase that is becoming more widely recognized to cope with grieving, loss and heartache. The notion of radical acceptance comes from the buddhist philosophy of acceptance of what is. I recently heard an explanation by Lama Tod Rod that spoke to me. He says to practice acceptance of what is, we have to go to the place of broken heartedness. We travel to the place of sadness and trauma and sit with the suffering. In order to find acceptance of what it is, we must truly allow ourselves to experience the heartache. This takes great courage and loving compassion. We can tend to our broken hearts the same way we may tend to a fire. If you've ever made a bonfire, you may know what I mean. The fire can burn high or low, smoke or burn evenly depending on how you tend to it; you add a log, reposition the wood, sit with the fire in observation. It takes great care and attention.
Our heart fire is no different. If we ignore the ache in our heart and escape reality with only entertainment, work or mood altering substances, our bodies will find a way to process stress another way. To truly become resilient we must turn to the wisdom of our body and heart. Tuning into the sensation of living in our body sharpens our ability to know how to heal ourselves. I can think of no better way to tune into the body than movement! Moving our bodies, in many different ways, sharpens our interoception, our ability to observe what is going on inside of us. All movement is wonderful, but movement practices that are mindful hone our interoception. Mindful movement combined with strength training goes even a step further and sharpens our resilience.
This last weekend I attended a workshop in which we worked with the element of fire as it relates to our yoga practice. My core is still sore 4 days later. I walked out on Sunday night, the second day of practice, sore and elated. I felt powerful and focused.I have been honing that power in my practice and daily life this week, hence this email I have wanted to write since December 31st is finally getting out. Coincidentally (or maybe not) it is the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese calendar. The tiger represents strength, courage and resilience.
As we melt into spring, my hope for you is to tune into your hearts' fire and hone your strength and resilience. Move in new, playful, exciting ways. Give your body the love and attention it deserves. Let us celebrate living in our glorious, radiant selves.