I’m quiet today. I slept in, body sore from yesterday’s Long Stretch. Last night we swam until stars came out, ate buttery fish with herbs from the garden, and snuggled little boys. I slept smiling. Exhausted.
Yesterday Sarah called. She was the yoga teacher at yesterday’s session and she’s also a life coach. I think I’ll forever think of her fondly because besides doing a great job, she also gave me a great gift: she stayed put in my awkwardness and listened. The impact of such vulnerability and effort-out-of-my-comfort zone was anything but graceful or pretty. I was bumbling, rambling, stumbling, dazed. And ironically, at peace, open, and safe. I don’t know Sarah; she doesn’t know me (and oh! what a First Impression :cringe:). But for her to listen, offer to do it again, and not grab the first exit is affecting me.
I always say God works through people. Yesterday, God worked on me through Sarah.
Florida has found it’s “afternoon thunderstorm” pattern again. Some years we miss this, drought-like. Some years the rain runs together through repetitive hurricanes. This year, we have a natural cadence. Every afternoon, around 4 pm, the blue grey thunderheads roll in and climb over each other, terrifying lighting strikes like long pointing fingers (we are the lighting capital of the world after all; strikes are to be Taken Seriously), and heavy wind driven rain pounds the heat away. Like a giant meat mallet, the storm tenderized the denseness of the summer air. The result is cool and livable.
It was just after this daily baptism that I headed out to the grocery store and returned Sarah’s call. I sat in the Publix parking lot, watching the rain puddles dissipate and we talked about transparency and growth and goals and safety.
She made an excellent point. She said the group’s state of being helped give me mine. More specifically, because they were calm and well and Real (there was no pretension present) and open, I was free to feel safe. The feeling of safety is both what held me in the moment so I could Keep Going and also has had this ripple effect on me in the hours afterward.
The contrast: if they had told me I was safe and weren’t themselves Real and vulnerable and imperfect, I probably would have closed down. Felt suspicious. Perhaps I would have left.
This morning I am thinking that over. As a mother, I know my state of mind has a direct effect on my children. If I am calm, they will be also. I am beginning to wonder how often our unease, pretense, posturing, anxiety, negativity, etc has an affect on the collective. What if we look at our well-being as being more than just “our” well-being?
One of my favorite saints, St. Seraphim, has a famous quote: “Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved”.
Think about that: wordless impact that changes someone’s life. That is profound power.
When I think of being a peaceful person, I confess I am usually only thinking of the effect on myself. Maybe next my children. And in my relationship with The Love. I’ve not given much thought to the effect being calm and peaceful and well could have on those around me beyond that tight inner circle, even to perfect strangers. I have given no thought to being part of a collective energy of peace in everyday, routine matters like errands or classes or common interaction.
It feels like a big thought to get my head around; like I’m just sort of nibbling on the edge of a very beautiful cookie. I’m still sort of raw and tender this morning. I was going to try and go today’s class but my stiff body craves rest. Being quiet with a little bit of incubation feels right this morning. I still feel wobbly and like I need to get used to firm land again. Or to release myself to the rippling waves gently taking me where I need go.
I think that makes me an emotional amphibian. (Does yoga have a Frog Pose?)