May 2010

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What is the last time you took a leap of faith?  What does that question even mean?

I started writing a blog weeks ago, that I will finish sometime, about how I learned and learn to love my body.  THAT, in this culture, is a leap of faith.  To believe that every hair on my body, every inch of my body, every bit contained within, is beautiful… well, for most of us this is a leap of faith.  But if you just imagine, and consider, and take that leap, the reward can be worth far more than the effort to get there.

Tonight I realize part the reason I get so much out of my Yoga and nature practices is that I am willing to take these leaps of faith.  In fact, I would argue that in some ways, the leap of faith – and leap of imagination – is at the heart of what practice is.

Can you imagine, right now, feeling the light in the room land on your skin and soften it?  It doesn’t have to be logical, but can you imagine how it feels?  Can you imagine it so vividly that you begin to actually feel a softening on your skin?  And maybe in your heart?  Can you take the leap of faith that is is physically possible to experience things that are not rational, and may not fall into any of your beliefs, but that may be extraordinarily beautiful, and insightful?

Let’s simplify it a bit.  Think of someone you love.  Can you imagine softening your heart just a bit more and feeling your love just a bit more deeply for that person?  Maybe by remembering something especially wonderful that she or he did?  Can you take the leap of faith that it may be safe to open your heart that much more, and that the experience of loving itself will make that risk worth it?

Maybe practice is as simple as that – taking a leap of faith by imagining something  new is possible, or that something beautiful can stretch a bit further, and acting on it.

Part of my daily practice is this leap of faith that something gracious and Light actually does live me, and stands me, and breathes me.  And if I trust enough to take that leap of faith every day, maybe it acts through me and unfolds something radiantly beautiful for a client, a student, a friend, or myself.

Another leap of faith is forgiveness.  Who can stretch so far to deeply and fully forgive when it has hurt so deeply?  Some of the most radical freedom and joy in my life has come from such leaps of faith.  From forgiving the impossible-to-forgive, I have found deep joy.  And am so grateful.  What are we forgiving anyway, except someone else’s story?

And yet another difficult leap of faith is letting go of expectations.  It’s one thing to forgive, but to forgive and love people without expectation.  How to do that?  I mean really…. we are so deeply programmed to have expectation.  Actually, it is impossible to let go of all of them.  But can we begin to just enjoy the beingness no matter what the flavor?  Can I love you even when you are being the most difficult, stubborn, crazy person?  Can I love the weather when it’s cold and rainy and I dressed for sunshine and 80 degrees?  Can I surrender my preferences and really radically love it all as it is?  Sure I can, but it takes that leap, over and over.  It takes surrendering my own story about it all SO well that I can really let go and love anyway.  It’s tricky.  It’s full life practice.

How do we take these leaps in small ways every day?  Maybe by noticing the narrative in your head that is angry or frustrated…. you could take the leap of letting that one story go… really let it go, and consider letting it be beautiful, just as it is.  Even if only for one day of freedom from that story, one day of a bit more satisfaction, and maybe more smiles…

It’s amazing how smiling can actually soften your heart.  Have you tried smiling more?  It really does lift your mood.

So we all have leaps of faith and imagination, and they are all risky… but maybe a daily practice can be as simple as beginning to recognize these opportunities and taking small leaps.  And trying out one extra smile a day… and see what happens.

What happens for you?