Refuge Within

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dandelionThe smoke. It's on everyone's mind all of the time. Can I take a deep breath? (no.) Should I do yoga? (yes.) How long is this fire going to burn? (?) As bad as it is in Auburn, we know that it's much worse for those in the fire area. All we can do is wait until it's been contained and send blessings to the 7000+ firefighters who are battling to put the fire out, along with those who have lost their homes, been evacuated, and who are living in fear. It's part of our reality in California. It keeps us aware and fragile to be at the mercy of the elements. In an odd way, it also connects us, as tragedies often do. 

What do we do with this feeling of being fragile? To me it's a lot like the complex feelings of grief; it's confusing, sad, and I don't know how it will express itself or when I'll feel it. I can go about my life and ignore it,  let it give me ISS - Irritable Susan Syndrome,  learn to work with it and honor whatever comes up, and reach out to someone who understands.

 

I think the important thing is to look at all of it with a curiosity and remember that I really don't know anything at all. This feels refreshing. This brings me back to beginners' mind and allows me to seek refuge in my practices, over and over, until things begin to make sense again.

  The smell of smoke will activate the central nervous system and bring up all kinds of reactions. Practicing yoga and breathwork will also activate the CSN, but in the opposite direction, bringing a soothing sense of calm to the mind and body.  Yoga works as a deep support for all of life's events - the normal ones that we roll with and the ones that knock us down. When you stretch, deepen your breath, relax with quiet music, and trust in the "not-knowing", an inner door opens that offers refuge to our tender, confused beings. May you find your refuge within.

Blog, Mind-Body, YogaSusan Whitaker