In celebration of my first-ever word of the year, Trust, I have decided to ask a few writers to share their thoughts on the topic. It was easy to think about who to ask first: Julie Daley represents the absolute embodiment of trust as I mean it. Her writing never fails to move me. In the embrace of her words I feel that I might be able to sense – and, ultimately, trust – the divine feminine that moves within me. (at least, she says it does). Julie’s writing and thinking is graceful and has both the fluidity and power of moving water.
I love the piece she has shared today because it is about pigeon, which is probably the single most difficult and simultaneously profound yoga pose for me. Please read her words on what it is to trust – our bodies, our lives, our selves, and the universe. Nobody says it like Julie does. It is an honor to share her words with you here.
Sometimes, moments of trust can appear when you least expect them. Sometimes, it simply takes awareness. Awareness of when we trust, how we trust and what we trust in; awareness of who we are, what we are, and what we’re willing to experience; and awareness of when we grab a hold, when we let go, and what happens when we simply sit with it all.
I’ve discovered that in the question of trust, the body can be a great guide. The body doesn’t lie. The body is our vessel for experiencing life. The body can show us the way if we’re willing to invite it to do so.
On a particular day a few weeks ago, I was entertaining the question of “When do I feel most alive?” for a blog challenge I was involved with. It was Friday, a yoga day. In class, the teacher asked if we had any requests for class (something she does when the class is small). A number of people voiced their requests. Then she mentioned that usually when she asks that question, someone pipes up with ‘Power Yoga’. I realized that’s what I wanted that day, to sweat hard and to push the boundaries of what my body can do, so I raised my hand to make it clear that’s what I wanted.
She laughed, then obliged.
She seemed to fill each of our requests, taking us from intense twists, to shoulder openers, to hip flexor stretches, to the ever-optional Chaturanga, and even a one-legged Chaturanga for me, the one that wanted power yoga.
She then led us into pigeon pose. Here in the intensity of pigeon pose, I remembered the inquiry I’d been holding for the day. I sat, so to speak, with this question of what it is to feel fully alive as my entire pelvic girdle was responding to the immediacy of this invitation to open.
I could feel the tightness of the muscles hanging on, as if to say, “It’s up to us to keep things under control.” And, in contrast to that tightness, I could feel my skeleton resting on the ground, responding to the muscles saying, “It’s okay. I’ve got it. You can let go.”
Alongside this conversation between the muscles and the bones, there was another conversation. I noticed a feeling of something deeper, what I can only call deep awareness, holding my mind as it flitted about, trying to manage the perceived pain of the stretch in which the body was engaged. This deeper place, this place of serenity and constancy simply invited me to let go, to drop in. I found myself dancing between simply being this place of invitation and being the mind with its manic need to manage the experience.
And then it happened. I let go. The muscles gave it over to the bones. The mind let go into the heart. The heart dropped into the body. Something deeper just held it all. And in this moment, I felt the physical palpable opening of the hips, where groin crease relaxed into thigh, and bones settled into the mat. Hot sweat dripped, while pain settled into sensation. Struggling to hold on let go. Cranial fluid softly pulsed. Joy surfaced on the waves of breath.
It all became simple. Personality acceded to Self.
In this moment, I could feel muscles held by the bones, and bones held by the earth. I could feel the mind held by the heart, and the heart held by the body.
One let go into the next, and before I knew it I felt deeply alive. Human. Open. Trusting.