Three classes in a row now, the temperature in the studio has been well above the optimum one hundred five degrees. I saw three ones on the digital read-out as I staggered out of the studio yesterday.
A couple of times during yesterday's practice, I considered whether I was going to be able to stay in the room. Sweat fell from my face like a Northwest rainstorm whenever I leaned over. I had to make myself not groan with effort - in part because the guy next to me groaned at everything and it was bugging me more than a little. I just did what I could, as quietly as I could, and stayed.
No one complains about the heat. I'm not about to be the first. Which means I can either give up yoga because of the discomfort and my fear of not being able to measure up, or I can accept what is and see what happens.
Acceptance has been a hard won prize for me. For a lot of my life, I've seen acceptance as settling, giving up, weakness. Once I understood it's none of those things, the challenge has been to see acceptance as a strength. Much like it's difficult to truly believe that savasana, being a corpse, is the most advanced yoga pose.
How can resting, doing nothing, just allowing things to be, be enough?
Doing nothing feels irresponsible, lazy and passive. Powerless.
In her new book, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity (to be released next January), Kate Braestrup talks to a man about falling out of an airplane, and how terrible - hopeless - that would be. She wonders whether the no hope could be liberating. "If there's nothing you can do, there's nothing you should do." She goes on to propose that no hope leaves only curiosity.
Acceptance is release of expectations - no hope. Without expectation, there is nothing to be afraid of. Only a sense of wonder at what unfolds from minute to hour to lifetime.
Driving away from yoga class with the late summer wind dancing through my open windows yesterday, deeply relaxed and cleansed, I began to feel a glimmer of that wonder.
Nearly a month into the school-year-that-isn't, I'm just now beginning to see that my lack of production, my lack of routine, my lack of structure are all okay. Necessary even. I expected to be full of energy and focus the minute summer was over - as measured in school time. I wasn't. I did what I could, fretted over what I wasn't doing, and frustrated myself with what I considered a dangerous trend of not working hard enough.
I love being home. I love deciding how I'm going to spend my time. I even love doing the domestic things that will make life easier for Walt at the end of a long school day. Toby's company is enough to make me laugh and keep me entertained. I feel connected to an amazing web of friends. And while I'm not particularly thrilled at each new agent rejection, even those make me feel real - only real writers get those rejections.
There is deep magic in the air right now. The wind blows hot, but with a cool voice that promises change. It gently lifts the apricot leaves from the delicate purple ash so that it's entering the new season naked. Standing under the blanket of stars at the end of night I hear our owl for the first time since spring. A single cricket chirps his elegy to summer in a duet with a towhee's buzz-whirr.
All of that happens without my help or work or effort. All I have to offer is my attention and gratitude and faith that all is exactly as it is meant to be. Seasons turn. Change is inevitable. Trust is safe. I only have to show up, be present, and accept the gifts as they happen.
picture by SteelNat from Flickr