What is a Holy Sacred Moment? What is Yoga really? What does it really mean to live in the Present Moment? I am not going to answer those questions in a simple essay – that’s impossible. These types of questions not only take a lifetime to address (and really never answer) but each question has an individual response or better yet an infinite number of responses. Beautiful questions that deserve to be lived!
In the last two weeks, I had the ironic and amazing opportunity to be on stage twice. I know that teaching has a stage but this was different. These were performances showcasing in two or three minutes my practice and passion for yoga and ballroom dancing. Both instances take a lot of preparation, in fact, years of preparation. The work involved to produce two or three minutes of one snapshot in time is all consuming; punishing; and addicting! It’s meeting the deadline of performances that motivate and inspire us to climb harder as we push to be our best under this pressure. And we do this at times with unruly costs no sleep; diet change; added responsibilities and sacrifices.
In the end with the costume on, the make-up perfect, the practices complete, the friends in the seats, the music picked, what’s left is YOU. The same you that stares back at you in the yoga room; the same YOU that practices “twinkle turns” in the dance studio. I LOVE the preparation to “get ready” for a special affair: the nails; the hair; the grueling hours of practice but I also love the knowingness that these moments on stage with all the detail they demand are far and few between so when they arrive grab them with authority and heightened consciousness. It’s a divine arrival the moment you hear the first beat of the music or “begin please” and all the necessary pomp and circumstance you’ve invested in goes dark. You’ve entered another realm.
Mary Jarvis, teacher and coach extraordinaire of the Bikram method is brilliant and carries this passionate message about competition. She calls it, living in the Present Moment. “No time to reflect on the past and no anxiety to reach for the future,” she states. Holy Sacred Moment is Mary’s label that is so exposed despite any and all costumes you are wearing on the outside and on the inside. You’ve pierced through all the veils – anger, guilt, pain, sorrow, doubt, instead what shows up is the discipline illustrating the habits you’ve created in the control of your mind and body; earnest in how clear minded you are in the rush of adrenaline with hundreds of eyes upon you; and grace, the effortless ease in which you move as your mind and body connect with spirit within and around you. So, a huge Congratulations, to all the competitors and dancers making that step for all of us to see and feel your personal story regardless of what showed up! Holy Sacred Moments are absolute and contagious. We all benefit from the experience.
I turned 50 this year. I made it a priority from the start of 2014 to be vulnerable. Turning 50 is a wake-up call – half your life is over – wow! I am so grateful to the life I have and with great appreciation, I can reflect on the life I’ve lived so far and feel immensely humbled and proud BUT I also feel unsatisfied. I am not surrendering to the common current that says it’s time to slow down but instead with wisdom and discerning energy that only age can bring, it’s time to refine and become more. For me that means being vulnerable in ways where I am not playing it safe – whoa!
Years ago when I was in Los Angeles visiting a Teacher Training group of a few hundred, Bikram made a profound comment to a student as he was exiting the room after teaching an exhausting hot almost two hour class. He stated that in the beginning (which could be years) you are only trying to survive the postures. Once that anxiety subsides then only you can start to make corrections and work within the posture.
Even Roy Eugene Davis, disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, follower of Kriya Yoga, stated that “rest on a single point of purpose and watch how you will begin to ignore that which you don’t want to be involved with.”
Study those and you will find that they are virtually the same message said in delightfully different ways. My challenge on both stages was how anxiety was going to show up: was it going to be an afterthought or was I going to wrestle with it? And, my goal was to not play it safe! If there is too much anxiety, well, it’s hard to not want to play it safe. If anxiety is background noise, then going for it, makes it that much easier. In Standing Bow too often I dont bring my body down enough (you’ve all heard that one before in your own practice). I know that it took a good amount of time, but when I hit the threshold of where I usually go, I knew it was my moment in time to be vulnerable to not play it safe. My Holy Sacred Moment came right then because I took myself out of what I know myself to be and into the realm of something greater! Yes! I did the same in my dance performance. I recall messing up my arms and timing and instead of doing what I’ve done before which is forfeit a lot more of the dancing because I am now in my head, instead I took a breath and started again carrying out what I KNOW I can do – another Holy Sacred Moment present to a greater response waiting for me to discover!
Maybe a bit more information than you need to know but again even in my essays my commitment is vulnerability so sharing intimate parts of who I am is not a safe place to be but necessary in my growth. I also find it infectious.
For me, I must need the BIG stage to illuminate these unrefined pieces of myself. But we all have a stage. It’s the holidays and surely even more stages will show up in the next 45-60 days giving YOU the opportunity to discover a Holy Sacred Moment (HSM) or many! Our practice is so genuine and honest and will give you “God awful truth soaking information” but gratefully in the privacy of your own being. In other words, not one person needs to know your path so BE ON IT! And, create the stage and grab the moment. Members, for years most of you reading this have been doing the yoga. Use it. Quell the anxiety, honor the vulnerable intention so much that it overrides your usual comfort zone and come away with true gifts – the most satisfying kind!