As I am driving out of a local garden center, I notice a plant growing towards the light of the sun. It is reaching ever so gracefully towards the light. It is a beautiful sunflower literally growing through the cracks in the cement of the median. I am in awe. There is no noticeable soil. No tending by a loving gardener. Just growing beautifully from strength, resilience, and rooted in the willingness to grow and survive no matter what conditions are presented.
Isn’t that what opportunity awaits all of us? Growing through the cracks. Yoga has been an invaluable tool for me to learn how to grow through the cracks. It has brought an awareness to me of how our bodies, minds and spirits truly and connected. No matter what life throws our way, we can continue to grow, stretch, and reach towards the light. The fissures that crack deeply in the soft parts of us can become issues literally stuck in our tissues. The ones we don’t always want to see or feel. We have become quite adept at building walls and sometimes even fortresses around our hearts. The building protection around our hearts can be from holding onto resentments, any kind of loss, feelings of unworthiness, abandonment, the diagnosis of an illness for you or a loved one, the corona virus, and the current derisive attitudes of family and friends over political beliefs. There are so many things that we hold onto and they all show up in the body. The body does not lie.
Our beautiful hearts have 6 sides. The top and bottom of the heart, the right and left sides of the heart, the front and back of the heart...we can breathe deeply into our hearts to make space. We can also stretch into and around our hearts to create space to continue to grow. It does not matter what is causing the dis-ease or pain. Your heart is the messenger of your soul. Your heart is trying to get your attention and it can be as soft as a whisper. The challenges in life are opportunities for growth. To feel is to heal. Breathe, stretch, feel, listen, and learn to let go.
I invite you to stop running from the challenges, root yourself, and rise up to face whatever challenges come your way. Yoga teaches us in mountain pose, to stand tall with our feet planted in the earth and the crown of our heads reaching towards heaven. Feet hip width apart (about 2 fists apart). Press all four corners of your feet into the ground. Leave a slight bend in your knees for energy to flow. Hips over knees. Shoulders over hips. Inhale shoulders up, exhale them back and down, reach your shoulder blades towards each other as if they were able to kiss. Stay wide open across your heart and breathe. Keep breathing. Keep releasing what no longer serves you. Remember to turn your gaze towards the sun and remember how strong you are. The heart is in the center of you it is a bridge between earth and heaven. Listen to its wisdom. Set an intention to stay open in your heart and allow grace to flow out into the world.
Be like the sunflower and grow where you are, right here, right now, in this moment, whatever the growing conditions may be. Breathe deeply, allow the pain or the worry to wash over and through you. Exhale and surrender. Keep breathing. Get quiet with the gentle rhythm of the breath, inhaling and exhaling, let it ground you. Ask your heart, is there a message here for me? What is this pain trying to teach me?
Instead of asking, why is this happening to me?
Ask, why is this happening for me?
Pain, grief, loss are all great teachers. Where there is darkness...turn towards the light. Breathe light and love into those cracks. Transform the darkness and let it teach you the art of surrender to what is. Surrender to the growth in the cracks much like the sunflower growing in the cement. Against all odds it grows, survives and thrives. You can grow, too. Grow towards the light.
Breathe in grace and gratitude inviting new energy into each and every cell creating space and providing nourishment. We breathe in fresh oxygen and we breathe out carbon dioxide that no longer serves us...letting go and surrendering on every exhale.
Befriend your breath. Deep breathing is your anchor to the calm center of your existence. Breathing into your heart space with the intention to open, open, open and stay open no matter what happens in your life. We are divine beings in human bodies.
God loves us for who we are and is constantly whispering, I love you. Trust that you will be ok and are being led to something greater. Grow through the cracks.