In Living Color
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
The change comes. Colors arrive - yellows, oranges, reds and the dark leafless branches at dawn. The magical song of Fall reminds us there are no answers - only questions. Questions which we can give our lives to - crisp and whole like a leaf settled upon the forest floor. To dedicate ourselves to this requires acceptance and surrender moment by moment, quite often asking more than we feel we have to offer. And so we are pushed, again and again, to the cusp - the narrow edge where light and dark meet. This may well be the place most worthy of our attention. The break of dawn, the close of dusk, the opening of the night and the emergence of the soul. Yes, this may be where we are intended to reside - no hiding, no running, no nature - just a steady wind stirring the leaves. This does not mean it will be easy, however finding ease amidst this steady and questioning is one of the great challenges gifted to us. Here, in the river, a pale yellow leaf has fallen. Held by the current, it is caught, lost, found and soon it is gone. Here, then gone. Here, then gone. Here, then gone. Resolutions come, bringing clarity following a storm, but always some new question arises in our being, asking to be lived and embraced. Once again, we are caught in the mystery. The choice to fight or accept presents itself over and over. One can spend a lifetime fighting by clutching and holding every step of the way. A refusal to accept the ungraspable nature of life will eventually be met by a rug sweeping out from underneath one's feet and one final cry of despair left to echo out across the lives he or she has touched while on this earth. A discomforting ripple which leaves scars on the innocent. Let us not be the resistant energy which clings stubbornly to answers, which are not answers at all. Open. Open to the wind and land. The current of life. Grateful and wide-eyed, let us embrace the wildness of the ride. Active participants and devoted witnesses to life's most enduring questions. Full, mysterious, and emblazoned with color. May we gracefully Fall into this life. Living the Questions with Yoga Yoga provides us with tools for living life's great questions in insightful and intuitive ways. Wisdom, held in our bodies, is freed through movement, stillness and breath. Sources of stress - physically, emotionally and spiritually - are revealed and given light, asking for attention or rest. This is a practice of listening to the body and listening to ourselves, which, of course, is no easy task. Teachers offer guidance and insight into these tools. Classes, friends and family offer added voice, accountability and comfort, as well. The great variety of classes offered by yoga studios can make it difficult to decide which class to attend today or this week. Not only do the classes differ, but a wide array of teachers bring their own styles and experiences into each class. To experience and practice different yoga classes is a good way to develop an understanding how different classes or teachers may be better suited for you depending on the state of your mind and body. A basic understanding of the often nuanced differences between classes is also helpful, lest we make unhelpful assumptions and conclusions. "Ashtanga", "Yin" and "Vinyasa" are just three of a fairly large variety of classes we might find denoted on a yoga studio's class schedule, all three being worthy of our attention and understanding. While the classes share commonalities, they also possess unique differences. Ashtanga, for example, tends to follow a predefined series of poses each class. A person might find the repetitive nature of ashtanga yoga unappealing, unless he or she begins to understand that this can be a great way of listening, as the poses don't change and so it may be easier to understand and pinpoint why class feels different this week versus last. With classes tagged "Vinyasa" we find a greater level of variability. Variability orchestrated from teacher to teacher, as well as on the student's part as the student has an active role in choosing how to practice. "Yin" yoga offers a slower, more meditative pace, where the student stays in specific poses for three, five or even twenty minutes at a time. Different classes interact with our minds and bodies in different ways. To understand what these classes have to offer us is one of the questions we can spend our lives asking. With patience and openness, the student can develop a personalized and intuitive understanding of the benefits of these classes, while the practice sends benefits rippling out through a person's life.