When I chose abundance for this month’s yoga theme, I admit, I was thinking of the sweet side of autumn at the front end of October: warm fall weather, the fullness of the harvest of fruit and vegetables from the garden, the vivid colors, and the soft light. Now it is the end of the month, and while my garden is abundant with kale and cabbage, is also abundantly wet and soggy and outside is now chilly and rainy. The truth of the matter is that life is abundant in the fullness of its many colors and forms.
This month was a challenging month for me personally. Abundance came to our house in the colors and forms of 10 days of Swine flu, a complicated family schedule, child-care juggling, health appointments, more than the usual share of sibling fighting, alongside raging emotional upsets of my oldest child who is expressing strongly his feelings of unfairness and disappointment around his chronic health condition, and the bittersweet day of remembering the birthday of my sister who died almost four years ago. Needless to say, at intervals throughout the month, rather than experiencing into the sweetness of abundance, I instead felt bombarded, overwhelmed, depleted and broken-hearted.
Daily, I went to mat, to my cushion, and to my pillow asking and praying for guidance and clarity, at times feeling desperate. Why does life have to be so hard at times? Eventually, I softened and I learned as I have time and time again, that eventually clarity comes. Guidance and support are always present. When I finally pause, soften and tune in, I discover that Grace is everywhere.
I came across a piece of writing by Mark Nepo that illuminates this. “In Flawed Abundance”, he writes about recovering from surgery in the hospital and raising a glass of water to his lips and as light poured into the room and illuminated the glass, he saw that the water itself was full of impurities.
“It made me realize that nothing is clean or perfect, and nothing unfolds as planned. For the universe is vital, not perfect. Full of endless seeds attempting to be one thing, colliding with another, and becoming a third. Love, dreams, difficulties, peace of mind – all of who we are unfolds this way beyond our willful wanting. I said amen and drank the water and felt it join me further with the world.”
And, so I learn to see more clearly that every force violent or benevolent that acts upon me, my children and my family is truly meant as a vehicle for my own transformation, and for my deeper connection to humanity and to the source of the great mystery itself. Though we must trudge along in the mud and muck and complicated stickiness of embodied human life, making difficult decisions, juggling complicated scenarios and riding the emotional highs and lows, at times we are graced with the wider perspective, the bigger horizon, where we see that everything truly is as it should be and everything is abundantly filled with Grace.
Purnasaya Purna Ma Daya
Om, the Eternal!
This is the Perfect/Fulfillment!
The Perfect emerges from the Perfect!
When the Perfect is separated from the Perfect
only the Perfect remains.
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.