Blog for My Series on”Good to Go, Hard to Leave”, Day 2: Spiritual Yoga

Dealing with life’s challenges can twist us into knots, teach us new ways to grow, or both. Picture from yoga.about.com

In my limited experience of yoga, I’ve learned a few things.One is that it is not competitive: when doing the exercises, you are not trying to do it better than anyone else; there are no winners or losers, there are just folks trying to maintain their balance while moving their bodies. Second, breathing is central. Breathing deeply and intentionally is part of the practice and holding your breath increases the tension in your body and makes it harder to move. Third, your muscles grow stronger by using your own body for resistance.  It’s not barbells, resistance bands, medicine balls or weights that you’re pushing against, it’s yourself.

This move has been my spiritual yoga practice: It has not been very physically difficult, I won’t have to tote my mattress on my back although I will be packing my books, clothes, and some other items. The challenge has not been the physical work.

The challenge has been pushing against myself, trying to breath and move while my fears, my worry, my bad habits and my ADD weigh me down. The spiritual yoga has meant intentionally choosing to trust God while my house remains unsold, praying when I’m disappointed, choosing to be calm and trusting even while the checkbook balance gets smaller, and deliberating choosing to find reasons for gratitude because I do not want to strike a victim pose.

I still can’t balance on one leg, and it would be much easier to radiate joy if things were going  my way and there were no snags in this transition. But yoga practitioners grow stronger and more flexible by working against their own resistance, and through the “interesting” portions of this move , I am more intentional with my spiritual practices and noticing new things about myself and my relationship with God.

I’m still sure that this move is the next right thing for me. The road blocks, detours, and stumbling blocks are strengthening my spiritual muscles and I’m taking them as a hint from the Spirit that better things than I can imagine are on their way. In her book Traveling Mercies, author Anne Lamott suggests that when irritations and frustrations arise, it’s because something new is getting ready to be borne into our lives and the Spirit is distracting us so we don’t get in our own way. I’m choosing that as my interpretation for this time of spiritual yoga instead of getting bent out of shape (see what I did there :-))..

Today’s Prayer Poem is “Real Work “by Wendell Berry from his book Standing by Words

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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