The Fullness in the Emptiness

I was listening to a cello concert several weeks ago and the cello-ist played a song for her father who had passed away. She began by saying that he was in every note and every rhythm she plays. As she played, I felt myself going through the memories of my own father, the nights of looking up at the stars together, hundreds of hours in the woods together, and that deep reverence for nature. To look up at the night sky with him and to walk through the woods with him, was to know reverence. Through his eyes was my first glimpse of the great mystery of it all, what some call God. Memories of the horse I grew up riding, who was like a second mother to me. How it’s as if her mane is still in my hands and I’m still covered in that oat and earth and pasture smell of her skin and silky coat. It was through wrapping my little body around hers, trying to make my every move be one with her every move, through uniting myself to her wildness that I came to know beauty and strength, what some call humbleness. Of my dog Denver, who’s heart was the first I had ever really felt beating with my own. Through this connection to her heart, I got my first understanding of the palpable sensation of being aligned with truth, what some call devotion.  Everything and everyone we come into contact with changes the way that we see the world. When they are gone, what was once outside of us, is now inside of us.  Their perspective is ours forever, we now see the world through their eyes and their essence is with us everywhere we go. There is a fullness in the emptiness. 

Letting Go: The Practice of Non-Attachment

There is a way that when you miss someone or something it can feel like you are hemorrhaging a lung. Like…ooooooeeeee I NEEEEEED this person.  Like your attachement actually depletes you.  AND there is another way of missing someone or something where when you think of them, it’s not that you actually need them there, in fact, their absence brings MORE fullness into the moment, a reverence, an honoring, adds some sparkle to the sunlight and wind. In this way, there is a feeling of getting nourishment from the emptiness. Like your love fills you rather than depletes you. 

This is the practice of non-attachment. When we get the gems and lessons from our life, we realize we are stronger for it all and more full. This realization allows us to let go of what we don’t need. We no longer hold onto things for fear that we are less without them. When we realize this, we come out of fear and into our fullness.  Attachments ultimately bring suffering because nothing is permanent and to hold on is to resist reality. To resist reality is to suffer. 

In Out of the Way Places of the Heart…

in out-of-the-way places of the heart,
where your thoughts never think to wander,
this beginning has been quietly forming,
waiting until you were ready to emerge.

for a long time it has watched your desire,
feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
noticing how you willed yourself on,
still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

it watched you play with seduction of safety
and the gray promises that sameness whispered,
heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
wondered would you always live like this.

then the delight, when your courage kindled,
and out you stepped onto new ground,
your eyes young again with energy and dream,
a path of plenitude opening before you.

though your destination is not yet clear
you can trust the promise of this opening;
unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
that is at one with your life’s desire.

awaken your spirit to adventure;
hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
for your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~ JOHN O’DONOHUE

Yoga Sequence for Letting Go

Sutra 1.12 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah (PYS 1.12)
Identification with the fluctuations of mind
is stopped by practice and non-attachment.

Practice: This is the realization of truth and the willingness to live this realization
Non-attachment: Letting go of anything that does not align with that truth you have realized

  1. Dwi Pada Pavanmuktasana
  2. Eka Pada Pavanmuktasana
  3. Happy Baby – experiment with slightly drawing heels back behind you a little so the legs move very slightly straighter – almost like you are prepping to put legs behind your head.
  4. Urdhva Prassaritta Padasana 
  5. Jathara Parivartanasana (bent legs first –> straight legs)
  6. Halasana paschimottanasana rolls
  7. Malasana
  8. Bakasana
  9. Jump back to Chaturanga from Bakasana
  10. Down Dog – Wave through to plank – really work on the length of the tailbone & getting each vertebra to move independently of the others – do 5-10 until it’s smooth
  11. Sun Salutation A
  12. Crescent lunge – back knee down –>crescent twist –>Eka Pada Dog –> Eka Pada Plank –>Eka Pada Chaturanga –>Up dog, down dog, repeat on other side
  13. Crescent lunge back knee down –>Crescent twist –> Parivritta Parsva Konasana –> Parsvottanasana –>Parivritta Trikonasana –>Eka Pada Dog –> Eka Pada Plank –>Eka Pada Chaturanga –>Up dog, down dog, repeat on other side
  14. Eka Pada Koundinyasana
  15. Sun Salutation B
  16. Handstand
  17. Pinchamayurasana
  18. Head Stand
  19. Shoulderstand
  20. Make a hip sling (take two blocks hip width apart, drape a folded blanket over them so it’s like a hammock, make the blocks too tight for you to fit through and wedge your hips between them…. almost like trying to fit yourself into a kids swing seat… haha! a LITTLE too tight… your pelvis will be a bit above the ground, so not resting on the ground. Lay on your back with knees bent, lengthen the tailbone and let knees fall together.  Breath into the edges of your sacrum and at the bottom of the exhalation let your abdomen, your LOWEST part of your abdomen fall back towards the spine so it feels empty where the large intestine is normally residing. Rest in the moment at the end of your exhalation before the inhalation. 
  21. Savasana – feel your entire practice vibrating in your body, feel every twist, every turn, contraction, opening, challenge, emotion, frustration, joy, feel all of it’s presence lying with you here.  So even though you are no longer practicing, you feel the essence of it in your body. You feel the fullness in the emptiness.

ABOUT: This sequence uses poses that stimulate digestion, in particular, the large intestine to let go and move things through. The large intestine is physically responsible for figuring out what to let go of and when we are attached to things because of stress or fear, we often experience trouble with digestion and elimination.  All the twists, turns, flips upside down, and wringing out actions of this sequence should stimulate some real physical letting go!  enjoy ūüôā

%d bloggers like this: