Strength and Softness

Strength and Softness

This is how I roll with my new dog Poncho.

Oh my, it's been some time hasn't it? As always, I am writing lots of blog post in my head, even when I don't have time to sit down and actually type one out. One them goes a little like this...

I spent the past five days in an acroyoga immersion where I did lots of handstands and partner balance yoga and Thai massage for 7 hours a day. Do you know what acroyoga is? I find it so inspiring and courageous. During this workshop, there were about 30 of us there, balancing and falling and giggling the whole time. I did a lot of things that scared me--like cartwheeling out of a handstand!--and let a lot of people support me through that fear. All of these exercises showed me that I am much stronger than I let myself believe because fear isn't so real once I face it.

In fact, I feel like I have always been afraid of being so strong. In my life, I usually feel bigger than most people. Always the tallest girl in my classes until high school, now I'm 5'10 and wear size 11 shoes and have muscular legs. I have worked many years on accepting my body and have done so much healing. Yet still, deep down, maybe I still felt like being big made me stand out in a way I didn't like. Ladies are supposed to be smallish, right?

So during the retreat, they divided us up into bigger people who act as more of base and smaller people who do the flying. Of course, I was picked as a base and felt a twinge of being ashamed about that. But as we moved through the exercises, I realized that my body is really well suited to be a good base. I have long, strong legs with open hamstrings that help me to steer another person's body. Also, in acroyoga big feet are awesome for balancing a flyer. I love flying with people with big comfy feet and felt proud to be able to offer that to my flyers. Basically, the base is the support of the whole flying apparatus. As the week went on, I dug that role more and more and my body that helped me to do it so well.

In the yoga sutras, it's explained that to do yoga we need to be strong and soft at the same time. In my hopes of hiding in some way, I think I have avoided seeing myself as strong and tried instead to be kind. But now real life experience has shown me that I can do some pretty amazing things and that this strength only increases my ability to nurture those around me. In such a tough world, I see that it takes so much strength to be truly kind.

The coolest part of everything, is that I got to see everyone go through their own transformations and to feel like I was a part of that. Even the teaching team shared openly what they were going through and it truly felt like a community of support that heals through having fun. I feel really grateful to have shared in that kind of collective transformation and energized to teach these upcoming retreats in West Virginia in May, Bali in July and Costa Rica in just two weeks.

In other news, as the above photograph has given away, Adam and I got a dog! His name is Poncho, he's about 1 year old and we adopted him after he was found wandering back roads in Southern Virginia. As a terrier/shepherd mix, he is endlessly curious, guards the house and wants to smell everything and chase each squirrel he sees. Luckily, he's also relaxed enough for a good nap and cuddle when the moment calls for it now. Perhaps he's a little, furry representation of that strength/softness I've been searching for myself. Perhaps this is why I love him so much.