How many of us wake up everyday with gratitude for living in Northern California this time of year? We have sunshine and warmth, yet also the “west coast crisp,” with trees decorated in blown up versions of bright yellows and bold reds. Mother Nature is magnificent, and at these times she especially leaves her stamp on the natural beauty that surrounds us, commanding the respect she deserves.
As yogis, our lives are best lived when we align with her Mother Nature’s natural rhythms. As I age, I feel more tendencies to live “her” way and notice that I feel my best self when I listen and follow her wise principles. This time of year is one of heightened celebration in particular to giving thanks. Mother Nature too is complying as she fills our days with surroundings that are so lush, full, and abundant. But looking deeper you will see Mother Nature’s pattern. The full harvest has been enjoyed in the long days of summer and now we are at the end of fall making subtle movements to a passing. It’s as if Mother Nature is making the loudest noise possible to bring to our attention that what we have is so special and to enjoy its season, but to also make no mistake by forgetting that this too shall pass. We are filled with gratitude and we have Mother Nature supporting this general attitude. It’s awesome. But not too long after, the colors not only fade but disappear. The sunshine hides behind the rain. It’s a time to die so we can birth again; not in a literal sense but rather as a signal that encourages us to go within. It’s time to hibernate and close up for a while. To let go, surrender, mull over, and move out. To let things pass.
For me, I like to go back and look at old clippings that I’ve collected over the years. I also pick up more books and search for powerful stories and differing points of view that stir my soul and evoke new insights. Recently, I skimmed through a very old folder as I was cleaning my office. I came upon this news piece that I must have cut out over 20 years ago – literally. It reads: Workers renovating the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital have discovered 19th century graffiti that had been hidden under marble wainscoting added to the structure around 1900. “Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul,” said the message on the needle’s base, “erects a monument to his own memory lofty and more enduring than this.” Work on the Washington Monument was begun in 1848 but not completed until 1884, after public donations were augmented from 1854 to 1880; historians theorize that the graffiti was written at that time. It is still there today- preserved!
My book choices these days include tried and true, test of time, acumen to live by: leadership greats tell us to do what we love and to be of service bringing a life of fulfillment and satisfaction. Yoga lineage tells us to work on spinal flexibility daily in order to increase prana or life force in the body. Recently, I made my way to Westgate Church which is a pretty powerful place to go if you want a good dose of God. Regardless of religion, this place reeks of goodness with a rock concert (literally) to start the evening’s message. Pastor Steve ignites with interpretations from the Bible on three priorities to live by: (Your) God, People, and Stuff. Remove context and view only content and what you see and hear are timeless principles repeated over and over again century after century. It’s wisdom for the ages that will remain constant even as we evolve as a species. Very long ago, I heard Bill Gates (still at the helm of Microsoft) share an answer to a question involving our biggest challenge that he foresaw in the coming decades. He stated that we will be bombarded with too much information. At that time hearing this, I was confused yet intrigued. Now, I get it and I bet you do too.
And it’s December! Our grandest month for information flying at us at light speed: ads coming at us to buy, parties to attend, gifts and cards to create, year-end projects due, travel arrangements to handle, school exams to study for…and this is besides the usual grandiose flood of information that hits our email, text mail, voice mail and snail mail. How do we get rid of stuff when we can’t stop the cup from overflowing?
I suggest you make the best of both worlds- jump in and jump out! You are yogis – you can do it. That’s why I am writing this now and not in January. By then it’s too late. This is the season to plug-in! Use technology and connect! Use it to stay grounded and function in your everyday world! Bill Gates also shared his insight that the companies that make it easier for us to “sort through” too much information will be the ones to succeed! He was right. Alleluia for those bright businesses as it helps us move along with efficiency and accomplishment. Your life was meant to be LIVED OUT – go for it and use what our economy provides.
Mother Nature has the coolest way to rein in the chaos that stirs up – RAIN – dark, wet, windy, and cold, with no color or sunshine in sight. It’s like she washes everything up in order to wash out. And we end up with fresh clean air, clear views, stripped away soot, dirt, dust. Follow along with Mother Nature’s wise ways this season and discover methods to rein in your own chaos that will surely arise as you live out this busy season. In other words, find ways to JUMP OUT!
And don’t let your yoga practice slide! It IS your tool to move away, clear away, and reconnect. It’s just 90 “timeless” minutes to “rain” out the soot, sort through the stuff, bring order from chaos, feel the relief, and then get ready for more of what awaits in your busy delightful December.
Don’t stop there. As I’ve found, read your own timeless pieces reuniting connection to higher levels of being. Walk in nature. Meditate. Listen to inspiring music. Check out to check back in. Your cup will feel empty when just moments before it felt too full. I am committed to this challenge of staying with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. I’d like to go through another beautiful December standing tall with balance within as without. I know that I’ll be more present and that will make me a better participant to the lives in which I connect. And I know the duality of what this month affords me will bring clarity to what needs to go in 2014! Enjoy all situations and events that come your way this December and I’ll see you in the hot room!