When we practice yoga or meditation, one part of our practice is to remain focused and to return our focus if we become distracted. I was just at the beginning of the most amazing Yin session when the storms that had rolled through most of the Midwest earlier in the day hit Chicagoland. I knew they were coming, as we had intermittent lightning for hours prior to the actual storm. I had set my space up to face the windows, turned off the lights, lit incense and a candle. This, in theory, would allow for me to practice and bring that energy along for the ride.
I was working on stretching my hands and wrists, and about to head into Broken Toe when the wind whipped up and the rain pummeled my window panes. I allowed my focus to drift momentarily to the one open window in the house where I had a box fan pulling the cool air conditioning through. “Nah, it’ll be fine,” I told myself, “refocus onto your practice.” As I was about to sit back onto my heels, one more time my focus drifted and I could not return it to the practice because I knew, by the sound of the rain hitting my living room windows, that if I did not get up right then and there, that there would be a small pond on my bedroom floor. I honored my thoughts, and I’m certainly glad I did, stopped the puddle from turning into a lake and got the fan unplugged and window closed.
My intention was to immediately return to my practice, but I felt called to pause and watch the magnificence of Mother Nature at work. The sky was illuminated in bright pinks, whites, oranges and purples with every flash of lightning, the tree limbs bowed as if they were doing sun salutations and gently reached towards the ground. The rain cascaded down the sides of the windows and dumped onto the houses and street below. Such power She wields. It reminds us that we are truly a tiny part of this vast universe, and while we can control our thoughts and actions, Mother Nature is her own force and she is marvelous and awesome.
I returned to my practice after 20 minutes or so, and after acknowledging the wonders of Nature. The storm was beginning to quiet, the trees began to still. While She settled down, I settled in. I found my way back into Broken Toe pose and instead of closing my eyes and turning my focus inward, I focused out the window at the trees. I watched as they would drop their shoulders or reach up to the sky or stretch their side bodies and then still themselves again.
This served to remind me that whatever is going on in our lives, whatever storms we are walking through, we are like the trees: stretching, bending, bowing, but never breaking. We are grounded through our roots, connecting with the energy of the earth and breathing it up and up through our bodies, just as the trees.
Mother Nature is magnificent. What an amazing reminder of Life. Sometimes we have to stop whatever we are doing, even if it IS practice, and observe. Sometimes we have to stop and appreciate something this intense to truly understand what is going on within us.
What do you do when shown the wonders of Nature?