To write and to live are two very different things, even blogging can emerge from a cascade of ones own perceptions and observations, thus, rendering the words ‘non-fiction’ a definite possibility when putting pen to paper. It is, nonetheless, a soulful and descriptive hobby.
As humans, we are meant to struggle, we are meant to maintain our endless strife for growth; mentally, physically and emotionally. I won’t include the spirit, because without the other three, the spirit can be alive or dead. I always think of those immortal words echoed by the founder of the Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who said, ‘The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.’
Today, in the busy lanes of working, raising a family and maintaining our lives, we lose our sense of real struggle. When life hands us a clover of difficulty, we look for four leaves instead of three. When the line at the Co Op becomes more than three people, we wait for the ‘call,’ and as sure as the rain comes during a British summertime, one, possibly two checkout fairies appear, to help assist us to a faster exit from Groceryland. I often find myself curious as to why a person needs to jump a queue, or why it is even necessary to not wait in line. I have a moniker for the ‘line-hoppers’, the ‘foot-tappers’ and the ‘tutters’, they are the ‘Artful Dodgers.’
Time has become so irrelevant to these ‘Dodgers’, these Jack (and Jill) Hawkins, (not that being a pick- pocket is on the rise) but dodging the art of living has become an epidemic way of life. For myself, as a Yoga teacher, it is both rewarding and paradoxically, heart-breaking to be standing in front of ‘Jacks’ and ‘Jills’ realising that speed has brought everyone to a standstill, yet standing still is what is meant to move us to struggle. Now that is, enigmatically, going to take some working out, and no asana (posture) based yoga sequence will allow a struggle to manifest in class, because, society wants us to bring softness and ease into Yoga practice.
Confused? Read on.
Cemented within us is our ‘blueprint’ of DNA, the inner map of what our ancestors layered into our tissues, our brain matter and our hearts. Unless this remains untampered with, we have a pretty good handle on what life tosses us, and not just in the form of an earthquake or the return journey to the Motherland, as mentioned in my first blog. So, when I see students losing pints of sweat in a challenging Vinyasa Flow Yoga class, I see struggle, but, I also see the real-life desire to
improve their Flow, their breathing and their strength. Yoga is often described as ‘lifestyle’ or ‘purpose’, but, I kid you not, after 31 years in the leisure life (style) business, it is the desire to move that brings these wonderful souls into the stillness that lifts their spirit. I can attest to having an
overload of gratitude following the Olympic- distance triathlons that I ran in my twenties. It really is the ‘fighting well’ that brings the overwhelming joy, expressed willingly, in those pints of sweat!
There is great satisfaction in achieving, especially when it is preceded by time, patience and careful readiness. Today, however, time is just a fast gallop to an unsatisfying achievement. A little bit like my Christmas Day encounter with my infamous pony, Toby jug, mentioned in my last blog.
We have everything at hand, at foot and at heart, within a fast gallop of time.
My re-entry into the UK culture, was indeed a fast forward launch into the foot tapping and frenetic way of life, yet the irony of teaching Yoga here, is, incredibly, satisfying. Yoga is where the stillness really happens. The transition of Yogis and Brogis moving from restless to restful, actually happens within a sixty minute class. Something moves them and brings peace to their soul, the foot tapping ceases and tutting dissolves into blissful, harmonious friendliness. Yoga really does shift people, it moves the movers to stillness and brings movement to the still. In between both of those reasons, lies the spirit, and only the spirit can inspire the struggle. It is often cited that our spirit lies within all of us and as the Chinese Proverb states: ‘The man who removes a mountain
begins by carrying away small stones’. We want ‘on demand,’ yet picking up that first stone shows a readiness to find our spirit, our soul and our joy. The awkward irony of struggling to connect our lives to our spirit can only be lived, and, as written in the first line of this blog, to write and to live are two very different things, to really connect we have to begin carrying small stones in order to
become an ‘Artful’ pursuer of our soul and our spirit.