My kids have decided that jumping through a hoola hoop is the game of the moment. I hold the hoop at the directed height of the given offspring. He or she takes the mark, runs full out and then adopts the chosen approach to get through the hoop.
Almost 5 year old Nora skips the jump part all together, splays arms high and runs full speed at the hoop linebacker style. Of course, this results in said hoop flying out of my hands with the force of her awesome body. Nora stops, spins to face me (hoop underfoot) and grins ear to ear. Why jump when you can barrel?
Ruthie, at nearly 7 years old, finds the run and the leap and has to mechanically pack up her naturally extensive body to get through the opening. It is tricky for a graceful gazelle to contract her power.
And John. John takes a deep breath and pauses in start position, hard off the line he gets up speed with the lead of his head jutting forward, and he curls into the tiniest 9 year old ball of human that I have ever seen. Nothing but net as he follows his instinct to curl in, to curve, to contract.
He hits the ground solid and steady. He comes to upright with a blank face that slowly expands into a huge smile.
“Woah! How did I know what to do there!?”
I grin and witness him. I witness his joy in this moment for the intelligence of his body. For the briefest of moments, I sit into it with him.
And then this mama yoga therapist wonderer who can’t shut up for long says,
“You know how you HATE that you can’t touch your toes in a forward fold? That you have to bend your knees in gym during them or else you can’t breathe?”
His body loses both inflation and elevation as he recalls this well felt experience of his body.
“Yeah, I know,” he sighs.
“Here is the cool thing, John. Those forward folds are hard for you for sure – which is partially because your back is able to curl in a ton. You can fold up like a snuggly baby into a ball with no problem, right?”
He ponders this and his eyes begin to light again. “Yeah… I can. Wait, is that why I can do this so easily?”
“Yup. The same reason you get so frustrated with your standing and seated forward folds is also the same reason you can curl up so tightly in your spine. And fly through that hoop with no thinking about it.”
He is quiet. His eyes are big and feeling into this funny Truth.
Something he can do beautifully with his body is the flip side of something that drives him crazy with his body.
He cocks his head and stares into nothingness for the briefest of moments. I see him sitting down in gratitude and peace for this thing that Is. This body that serves.
I recognize that there is more to it than “His spine is super flexible so his legs are tight.” There is in fact always more to consider in a moment.
But there is also a place to stop and be in the beauty of the Simple.
Because the Simple is also the stunning orange and red leaves.
That become the piles of dried and crunched debris to rake up.
Because the Simple is also the sunny and warm.
That morphs into the cold. Or rainy. Or humid.
Because the Simple is also the moment of stillness.
That flows into the rush of doing.
The Simple is merely the flip of the complex.
And both exist simultaneously in any given breath.
For whatever we don’t love, there is some flip that we do love.
And perhaps it will serve you, me, us for a moment to see the Simple truth of some challenge that we face. Some gift of our’s that is wrapped into a perceived obstacle. Some grace that is inherent and quiet in the shadows of the hard to hold.
I invite you to join me at YogaFest in Raleigh on March 28th to explore more of the simple in this practice of everyday.
May you embrace the Simple in whatever way you need this Valentine’s Day. May the complex rest for just a breath. Just a moment. And may our intention in this space ripple outward to all those in need.
Just like John, you do you. And see more.
Take good care,