I was on my yoga mat, but instead of relaxing into asana practice, I was all keyed up, feeling anxious and small.
My mind raced: Would I live up to my own lofty plans? Would I be able to carry the projects i envisioned all the way through. Was I worthy?
Plus, the kids had me rattled, mom had me shaken, dad had me stricken with grief.
As we moved into our first challenging pose, downward facing dog, the hot flashes began.
I tried to ignore them. I tried to breathe through them. I tried to do the poses anyway. I tried to keep going.
I collapsed onto my mat.
Are you okay? Suzi, my yoga teacher, asked.
Hot flashes, I groaned.
Ah, she said. Well, see if you can find the grace in that.
The grace in hot flashes?
I laughed. I breathed. The flash came and went. I braced for the next one. It didn’t come.
Well, look at that! I thought. This was a shift in the pattern. And, you know, I teach this stuff. But still…
I’ve tried every available remedy – herbs, bio-identical hormones, acupuncture, deep breathing – to cure the hot flashes that have scorched me, night and day, for three years, maybe four now. But they’ve only gotten worse.
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure it out in a different way – was there some psychological, spiritual cause?
I moved through the practice. When, inevitably, I felt a hot flash begin burning its familiar path up my spine, I greeted it. Hello, I said, opening to face the heat. What grace is this?
And each time, it dissolved.
I learned from this for an hour.
At the end of practice, during deep relaxation, I lay on my yoga mat and Suzi read us a Mary Oliver poem, “Let the world have its way with you..” she read.
And my eyes filled with tears.
Cuz’ I understood.
The grace in hot flashes.
The world having its way with me.
All year, as I’ve worked on my book, in the flow of the sea of miracles, I have been inspired and clear and ready. I have understood things with a depth and a clarity that surprised and, frankly, amazed me. I’ve never been so focused. I’ve found my true work – and while I was doing it, in the flow of the dance of joy that I was doing with God, there were absolutely no hot flashes.
Or maybe, I just hadn’t noticed them. Either way, there was no resistance.
And that’s when I got it, lying there on the mat and letting Mary Oliver’s words – and grace – have their way with me:
When there was nothing to resist – no fear, no anxiety about my worthiness, no feeling that I needed permission to do the work that I loved to do, there were no hot flashes.
Instead there was inspiration.