-sharing reflections on what I've heard and am hearing, learned and am learning,
from voices in the Holy Land, the USA, and Rwanda-

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the art of being

One meditative yoga class, it appears, is all it takes to wake me up again and remind me how beautifully simple life can be. 

From the very first day of our training in Chicago for this YAGM year, we were told to work our hardest--yes, in our placements, but almost more so in our relationships with the communities around us.  We were told to put the greatest effort into--get this--"being."  Being present, being a member of the community, being aware of what's going on around us, being a friend, a neighbor, a confidant, a student, and where needed, a helper--this is what we are called to do in our time of service.  Accompaniment--walking not only beside other people, but actively walking with them, hand-in-hand. 

Let me tell you this--much easier said than done!  Coming from a culture of "doing" things--always having a schedule, constantly planning the next move, making sure our hands never cease movement--it has been a daily struggle to give up that want to see a physical product from a days work and rather embrace the productivity of a day spent building relationships of trust and love over, say, an ear of fresh corn or a cup of herbal tea... or even sharing a few hours with others in meditation and yoga. 

Thankfully, a recent yoga class reminded me of the importance of "being".  Just the other week, I had the opportunity to join a meditative yoga session outside of my regular class.  The focus of this yoga class was the breath, using it as a tool to root yourself to the earth in order to access your whole being.  I kid you not, the yoga teacher (from Italy no less, with English as a second language!) used the exact expressions we were taught at orientation as a reminder of how to intentionally care for ourselves, and thus, those around us.  She repeated over and over again these instructions: "Remember, do not force movement.  Let your breath move throughout your whole body, moving you without effort.  Accompany your body by simply Being.  Don't try to Do the movements.  Let them happen naturally." 

Wowzers.  What a put it right out there reminder about the important things in life.  That if we focus on being, both in a natural flow and an intention mindset, our breath (...hmmm, image of the Holy Spirit?) will spread through us, fill us, and move us the way we are to be moved.  If we only accompany, we will see more plentiful products than if we went on our merry way "doing" things all the time and missing all that is going on around us. 

As I walked out of that yoga class, I was so thankful of the reminder to "be."  To be intentional and relaxed.  To be aware and satisfied.  To be open and loving.  To be a part of a journey rather than on a quest.  What is more fruitful than being with people who understand that love and care is not shown in actions alone, but simply in the act of being friends.

In other words (or possibly words of wisdom in a slightly different context), seriously, "Let it Be."

Check out my new poetry page which will be coming to a blog near you (...my blog) soon.  ...Possibly right now!  Just a few poems'll pop up every once in a while.  Nothing too fancy, but hope you check it out and enjoy!

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