Waking Up to Snow and Equanimity

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Published in elephant journal 12/12/2013.

I find myself running through the snowy forest, making a fast getaway from the thoughts in my head.

My heart is beating faster and faster, I feel my life’s flow coursing through my body. Suddenly I stop…stand still; come into feeling, watching, smelling and listening.

Wind bursts; clouds of powdery snow dust—cool pin pricks on my neck.

Sinking into the moment, the deeper I go the more subtleties revealed.

I am this moment.

I am the golden shafts of sunlight beaming through the snow covered pine trees.

I am my dog, Riley, gliding effortlessly through the understory, like a dolphin in water, the lines of my furry face and lean body perfectly matching my surrounding nature.

I am the pine cloaked in a deep mantle of snow. I dance a strange, wild, top-heavy dance; swaying slowly back and forth as the brisk winter wind sweeps across the forested hillside. My roots hold strong; my trunk solid and supportive.

I am the snow sparkles, crystals reflecting in the morning sun, glistening. I feel alive, breathing clean and pure forest air. Becoming myself, like a snow crystal’s perfect pattern.

I am the barbed-wire fence. I am the cold steel, the razor sharp barbs engineered by razor sharp minds. I am private property. I am banks and money. I am the cows grazing, fattened up on genetically modified corn. I am the multi-national corporate executive.

I have to face this side of me, too. I have to understand it, because it is me.

How can I have equanimity and gratitude, how can I love and accept the parts of me that hurt me and divide me?

It’s all me, anyway. Isn’t that what I’m trying to say? Then why am I hurting myself?

I reach the top of the hill. I look up and see the mountains, the sky, the snow-covered landscape; my cozy little town stretches out before me…

Why do I hurt myself? Because I am numb and disconnected.

When I ignore certain parts of me, I create ignorance and numbness. I have to face my numbness if I want peace, if I want to heal. Only once I face something can I truly choose to let it go.

Out of nowhere, a feeling wells up inside me. I yell out at the top of my lungs, “Wake the f*ck up!” My voice echoes across the valley.

Wake up, world! Oh, but it’s all me—wake up, me! I start banging my body, rubbing my neck and arms, powering up my chakras and breathing as deeply as I can manage.

See, I am the barbed wire separating me from myself. I understand why I am here: to keep my domesticated side from disappearing into my wild side. I see my part in it: my farm-grown food shipped to me on a tractor-trailer truck from some faraway place. I am dependant on this system, I support it and it is me.

But I can change. And as I change, I change what systems and energy I support. I find a new way, one that aligns with my chosen path of balance, harmony and sustainability.

I am not powerless. Once I see that my world is all me, I take my power back. I step into control of my machine and instill the humanness, the heart, the feeling and the love.

I am healing. Despite my history of disconnection and imbalanced behavior I am actually making myself stronger and healthier, day by day, by bringing feeling to my numbness; by loving myself.

I face my problems instead of hiding from them. I empower myself by owning my part in my problems, and by working on changing my own self-destructive behavior. I learn to love myself, all parts of me, equally, as one. I learn to have patience and to listen to my pain. I learn to see my challenges as lessons in my journey.

This is my yoga: me working on myself, owning myself, changing myself and redefining myself in this moment, again and again. I do this work because I love myself.

The wave of excitement breaks. I settle into stillness. A raven soars across my field of view. I hear the distant hum of the highway, a barking dog, the sound of children playing somewhere far below. Settling into stillness… I go to the place beyond words.

I am the snow. I am frozen water. I am the death of the old, and in the same breath, the new life of spring.

I learn to let all my thoughts and opinions of myself flow through me. I allow them to come and go, like me, wandering across the snowy, forested hills. Up and down, warm and cool, shade and sun, thinking, and then letting my thoughts drift away, like the clouds across the deep, blue sky.

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