I have this idea of the woman I want to be. She’s a lot more centred than I am now, not necessarily older, but wiser some how. She speaks a little bit louder, a little quicker, and more confidently. She’s more articulate, less hesitant. She often has her hands open, not clenched in any way, like she’s ready to carry what you might place in them…and she’s standing in Mountain Pose.
I have this bad habit of only standing on the outside balls of my feet. Every time I notice I’m doing it, I fix it: I make sure to place my feet firmly on the floor, I pull up the muscles in my thighs and straighten my posture. I feel better, more grounded, but often I don’t notice when I’m not sure-footed.
This Mountain Pose assignment was hell. I tried to remind myself all day to stand up straight, to pull the crown of my head up, to unclench my jaw (another extremely bad habit). And sure as hell, just as quickly as I’d remember to do that – in the newsroom, sitting at my desk, on air, walking down the street, standing opposite an interviewee, someone would say something to me and I’d forget. Damn it! I’m such a perfectionist that this was such a frustrating experience.
Here is what Erich Schiffmann, the author of our text book, Yoga: the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness has to say about Mountain Pose: “It promotes the experience of stillness, strength, relaxed power, and immovable stability associated with mountains” (94). You can describe me in a lot of ways, but “immovable” is not one of them. You know that song, How He Loves Us? The first line goes, “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane – I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”
I am a tree, not a mountain. Mountains withstand hurricanes: trees, not so much. Listen to what I wrote in my journal on January 15, 2014:
“I am feeling anxious this morning. Since ***** and I broke up, I’ve been thinking about ##### a lot and why it couldn’t work between us and why I still love him: it’s like this latest break-up has opened old wounds.
So I lost ##### and then I lost ***** and then I lost ##### again for some reason.
I feel attacked in love…the fact I wanted more from him made me look like I had less to offer.
I just wish there was someone else here, someone else I could lean on who has my best interest.”
Did you hear that? I feel “attacked in love.” If His love is as strong as a hurricane, that’s frightening to a tree. Because a tree doesn’t stand a chance of surviving a hurricane on her own. A mountain, on the other hand, wouldn’t bat an eye. How do I become a mountain?
“As you relax, and as you feel the energy you are made of, you will begin to feel loved. You’ll find yourself feeling this way, inevitably, eventually, as you relax inside and allow yourself to become increasingly in touch with the loving goodness that is already in you – and it is already in you because that is how you were built. Love is the all-constituting substance of Being. It’s what you are made of. And you did not create yourself” (Schiffman, 13).
Lord, make me a mountain and love me like a hurricane.