Grapevine

Resilience and Riding the Wave – Week 4

Published on: April 20, 2020
Blog, Self Care
While clearing honeysuckle and grapevines from trees in the woods behind our house, I was struck by their tenacity and resilience against all efforts to remove them. We have some giant old grapevines that have been cut to die and get blown out of the treetops by the spiraling winds that burst through our woods in the winter and spring, and yet they remain firmly fixed, wound around limbs and each other, refusing to be dislodged. It was exhilarating to pull on them and feel their strength swing my like Jane through the trees, only occasionally give up an offering of a minor vine from the very top of the trees…. but at the end of the day more of them were still wound among the trees than piled up around my feet! On the way back to the house, I freed this small tree trunk from a grapevine and honeysuckle vine that had girdled it into a beautiful spiral – evidence both of the vines’ tenacity and the tree’s resilience to live and shine its beauty.

Those moments spent freeing that small tree were significant because last week was a true roller-coaster for me – up one moment in elation and down another into a simmering anger that boiled over more than once! Feeling deeply frustrated by factors in all our immediate circumstances fueled that anger, but breathing into the acceptance that I can only control my reaction to whatever life is presenting me cooled it immediately. I was reminded of one of the foundational practices of Kripalu Yoga – Riding the Wave of Emotion. We affectionately call it BRFWA for short.

Breathe – Coming home to our breath brings us into the moment and allows us to be present to what we are truly experiencing right now. It connects us to all aspects of our being, to others, to the natural world, and to life itself! It has the ability to calm our fears instantly, for fear lives in the future, in the state of “what-ifs”, and the breath is here now.

Relax – As we breathe, we can begin to relax our body… the tension building in our neck and shoulders, roiling our bellies, and freezing our minds – classic stress responses. Stress lives in our bodies, and it must be released before it creates toxicity.

Feel – Notice what we are feeling in this moment – in our bodies, in our thoughts (for thoughts and feelings inform and entwine one another), and in our hearts. Feeling thaws the freeze that stress places in our minds and brings us back to our body, to our breath, to the ground beneath our feet.

Watch – Become the witness of our inner self, observing our actions and reactions to our lives, to the patterns of belief that emerge to elucidate or obscure clarity in our thoughts and openness in our hearts.

Allow – Can we simply let it be? Can we allow the wave of emotion to wash through us, watch it rise and crest then ebb back into the ocean of existence … know it as part of being human… and loving ourselves all the more for that humanness?

One of Swami Kripalu’s most profound sayings for me is “… one of the greatest spiritual practices is self-awareness without judgment” …. living from our hearts in all love.

Sending an abundance of light and love,
-Carla

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