Space and Detachment
If you want to develop a regular asana practice, for example, you have to make the effort and the time to actually do it (abhyasa - practice), which may mean giving up an extra hour of sleep in the morning or late nights drinking wine or watching Giants replays (vairagyam - detachment).
-Kate Holcombe (Making Space, p.57, Yoga Journal, November 2011)
The past few weeks, I've been lost. Lost in my own thoughts, wandering aimlessly through my days. Stress led to overwhelm; overwhelm forced the need to slow down...to create space.
The trouble is, when we create space...we have to let go of something that was previously occupying that space. As the quote says, when we want to practice something we need to detach from something else that was previously in the way of or flowing against that practice.
Without an intention, without some sort of grounding - we have no idea what to hold onto and what to release.
Although I consider this an ongoing challenge, the past few weeks have been a particularly poignant reminder of this practice. I let go of regular online writing, only to feel the call to share more. I practiced frequent socializing, only to realize the late nights were taking their toll on my body and my health. I let go of creating, only to realize that without it I feel more lethargic and deadened.
I could go on, but the particulars are not important...at least not as part of the story I share with you.
Space is Vital. Space is vitality.
Into space, we breathe, grow, expand, live. Without space, we constrict, confine, die.
But our experience requires us to define, to add definitions and meanings and borders to life. To move around this space on some sort of timeline, to have agreed-upon meanings. (Red means stop and there are 12 months in a year, for example.)
Our practice (abhyasa) is being aware of both space and form. Depending on how we want to experience our life, we detach (vairagyam) from that which we no longer need.
We constantly navigate the noise and clutter, the endless beauty and mystery of this life. We honor and cherish the space in which it exists, the divine vastness into which we breathe. We allow ourselves life by experiencing the nitty-gritty details, the forms and shapes and colors and habits and holidays and rules and fears and dreams.
The result of all of this practice is a life lived in wondrous awareness. A life lived not feeling rushed, a life lived where a drop of water on a flower petal brings as much joy as winning the lottery, a life where feelings still flow and deadlines exist...but peace pervades it all.
It is a practice.
I return to sorting through the Christmas gifts, re-organizing my art supplies, re-scheduling my running routine, re-entering my life. I breathe into the space. I invite you to do the same.