let sleeping turtles lie

“Don’t you think this is just a little crazy?  I mean, who actually thought this up?”

This is Meghan, my 19 year-old daughter, just before she was getting ready to attempt both feet behind her neck with arms that extend awkwardly out and around her twisted thighs, reaching for a grip that will secure this insane contortion.

Supta Kurmasana ( a.k.a. Sleeping Tortoise)

smack dab in the middle of the first series of Ashtanga.

“Yes, it does seem a little crazy, I admit.  And sometimes I have absolutely NO idea why we are doing what we do.”

And yet, even as the words came out – I would move into my next 4 postures, all of which will require a foot – then feet- behind the head in a series of postures from the next series.  This sequence is a bit more complex and asks more than the one she is tangled in currently – but no doubt, it was this one she is working through that will one day ready her for this bit of insanity, as it once had prepared me.

Because the practice is linear – and earlier challenges leave us a bit more open/stronger/more capable of tackling challenges, sometimes even greatness, that await us later on, down the road.

Lately, I’ve been pondering about other crazies of life as well – the trials and tribulations really good people must endure.  For this reason alone, I don’t believe in karma.  Nor can I tolerate the thought of a punishing God whose wrath to which we are beholden.

And while I don’t profess to know who dreamed up this crazy  and sometimes, maddening life we lead, I AM starting to believe that it too is somewhat linear.  It’s not paying us back it is definitely pushing us forward.

Especially when I’ve learned that a broken heart only creates more cracks for love to later be received … a crushing disappointment is sometimes exactly what it takes for us to finally let go of adequate and a dream to be realized … and from the hardest fought battles develops a strength we can tap when the stakes are the highest.

This shit just ain’t random.  I can say with great certainty that every blessing in my life right now was made possible by some pesky and sometimes even painful sleeping turtle from my past.

Today is the last full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashadh and celebrated as Guru Purnima –

a day when we give thanks for our greatest teachers.  And I am fortunate to have many …

But of all my teachers, the greatest ones may be those in disguise.  The ones that sometimes leave me broken and humbled.  The ones that seem crazy and confusing.  The ones that challenge me and even bring me to my knees.  Because without these lessons, I might never find what it takes to progress and to grow.

The practice is my greatest teacher.  And not just my 1% on the mat – but the 99% off, of course, as well.

 

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