Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Cows Are Back

On my drive to work, I've gotten in the habit of really taking in the beauty of where I live to practice gratitude.  I've developed some "friends" that I regularly see.  A raven that has a certain morning breakfast spot, a large bird of prey who perches a top the high point of a certain tall tree, and the cows in a field grazing.  I've particularly enjoyed the field with the cows, watching the field change during each season.  The cows grazing there, fertilizing.  The hay growing into a tall, brilliant green.  The farmer cutting the hay, a sweet smell to the air.  The hay laying to dry and then rolled up into bundles.  Then the process begins again and again until frost and snow signal time to rest.  The cows also disappeared, maybe around December.  Then low and behold, the were back last week.  My heart was joyful and I gave them a hearty, "hello, again!"

I've struggled with change most of my life.  I would try to be prepared for as may possible outcomes I could think of and worry about the future.  In doing this, I missed so much of what was happening in the now.  With the seasons, I had come to view winter as dark and dreary, a time when depression would set in and irritability with all around me would come in waves.  I did not like or enjoy this place.

I moved half way across the world to India in 2010 for two years.  I was excited as I loved the time I had visited India years before and couldn't wait to be there, seeped in the culture.  When December came, we had some family and friends come to visit and headed north for a two week excursion.  Despite the amazing things we were seeing, the old, familiar depression filtered in.  It was at this moment when I started to finally grasp that it wasn't the place or environment I was in that caused me to feel depressed...it was me.  Here I was in an amazing place, rich with culture and history, among loved ones and I felt heavy.

I already had the blessing of meeting my teacher, Prasad Rangnekar.  When he asked me to join his yoga teacher training for the following year, my entire being said, 'yes,' without a thought. I was ready to face myself.  Through his teachings and the teachings of yoga, I've been able to answer, "now that I know it's me, what can I do to change this?"

It's been four and a half years since I've committed to this path of self-transformation and committed to daily sadhana (practice).  I'm reminded of the quote (which I will paraphrase): Chapter 1: I walk down the path and fall into a hole.  I have no idea how I got there and I know it's not my fault.  It takes a long time to get out.  Chapter 2: I walk down the path, I fall into the hole AGAIN.  I can't believe it and wonder how it happened again.  It takes time to get out. Chapter 3: I walk down the path and fall into that hole again.  This time I realize I got myself there.  I get out more easily.  Chapter 4: I walk down the path, I see the hole and I walk around it.  Chapter 5: I take a different path.

India was Chapter 3.  My teacher trainings and sadhana for the first three and a half years have been Chapter 4.  And I've realized that I'm now turning some of the pages of Chapter 5 as I have come to see the beauty and joy in change, to celebrate it and thank it.  Don't get me wrong, there is still some anxiety that comes up, but I treat it as a friend.  I realize it's my body and mind letting me know there's something there I still need to address and learn from.  It's empowering and motivating. This winter, I realized the cows are back.