Reverb10 Day 03 Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
I really like this prompt. Just reading it takes me back through so many experiences of 2010. As I do, I discover that, in general, I feel alive much of the time…much more than I used to before certain experiences awakened me to a different way to be in life.
Feeling most alive isn’t always the same as feeling good. For me, it’s not about peak experiences.
That being said, as I went back through the year to pick one moment, my mind went to peak experiences (it’s hard to teach an old dog…):
Traveling in Ireland and climbing Croagh Patrick alongside barefoot teenage boys or standing on the peat in Connemara or hearing live Irish music and feeling my body light up with the joy of music from the heart…all immensely pleasurable experiences. My mind also searched for other highlighted moments of the year, something that stood out as different from the others. As I sat with so many choices, my time to write ran out as I had to head out the door for yoga.
Today, the teacher asked if we had any requests for class (something she does when the class is small). A number of requests were voiced. Then she mentioned that usually when she asks that question, someone pipes up with ‘Power Yoga’. I realized that’s what I wanted today…to sweat hard and to push the boundaries of what my body can do. So I raised my hand to make it clear that’s what I wanted.
She seemed to fill all our requests taking us from intense twists, to shoulder openers, to hip flexor stretches, to optional Chaturanga, and even a one-legged Chaturanga for me, the one that wanted power yoga.
Then she led us into pigeon pose. And here in the intense opening of pigeon pose, I remembered the prompt for today. I sat with the question of what it is to feel fully alive as my entire pelvic girdle was responding to the invitation to open.
I could feel the tightness of those muscles hanging on as if to say, “It’s up to us to keep things under control.”. And, balanced with that tightness, I could feel my skeleton resting on the ground, responding to the muscles saying, “It’s okay. I’ve got it. You can let go.”
Alongside this conversation between the muscles and the bones, there was another conversation. I noticed that feeling of something deeper, what I can only call deep awareness, holding my mind as it flitted about, trying to manage the perceived pain of the stretch in which the body was engaged. This deeper place, this place of serenity and constancy simply invited me to let go, to drop in. I found myself dancing between simply being this place of invitation and being the mind with it’s manic need to manage the experience.
And then it happened. I let go. The muscles gave it over to the bones. The mind let go into the heart. The heart dropped into the body. Something deeper just held it all. And in this moment, I felt the physical palpable opening of the hips, where groin crease relaxed into thigh, and bones settled into the mat. Hot sweat dripped, while pain settled into sensation. Struggling to hold on let go. Cranial fluid softly pulsed. Joy surfaced on the waves of breath.
It all became simple. Personality acceded to Self.
In this moment, I could feel muscles held by the bones, and bones held by the earth. I could feel the mind held by the heart, and the heart held by the body.
One let go into the next, and before I knew it I felt deeply alive. Human. Open. Trusting.
image, Anjali, by Romana Klee on Flickr (cc2.0 license)