Monday, December 21

deep solstice

it has been almost three years since I last joined a public yoga practice. that's kind of a long time. but also not that long.

I have gotten emails from that downtown yoga studio, Sunshine Yoga, in the meantime. pointless emails, but at least they were not overwhelmingly spam-esque.

there was a yoga studio called Spark in Natchitoches for a moment, but it closed its doors before I could participate. I was sad and a tiny bit angry when that happened. how unfair. what stupid timing.

there are at least fourteen yoga studios here in Prescott, but there is also a pandemic going on.

and so the time since I practiced any good yoga with anyone but my own household stretches longer and longer.

I do still have Yoga with Adriene, thankfully.

and now I also have a weekly yoga church thing, which I joined on strong recommendation from friend Patti.

I met Summer Cushman, the beautiful soul who hosts this event, just once I think-- during a dinner at Black Sparrow at some point during this visit to Indiana. her partner Jeremy Cushman orchestrated my introduction to the graduate program + environs at Purdue that March. 

so for the last three Sunday mornings, I have set aside 90 minutes for a little yoga, a lot of journaling, and a much-needed dose of connection and fellowship. it's over Zoom, which will never quite be the very same thing as an everyone-in-the-same-room-breathing-and-moving-together yoga class, but it is very lovely in its own way. 

{ one of my favorite hand-drawn cards from Christmas 2018 }

yesterday, we turned our journaling and our meditating to the depths of this season. midwinter. cold. darkness. accepting the rhythms of putting down what is ready to die and making room for the new things that might grow when the spring sun comes back. 

we were encouraged the day before to collect and arrange a simple little solstice altar for the occasion. 

mine is still on the coffee table in our cozy front room. I laid out a hand-woven scarf from my mentor Kelli Cargile Cook, a small wrinkly white handkerchief, three candles (one Christmas-scented), two little paper snowflakes, one red jingle bell, a pine cone and various other plant-bits from the walking trails near our apartment.

while I gathered all these things, I kept thinking about silver and gold. I untangled the bell from a long golden ribbon it had been tied to. the twig I picked up is pale, easily imagined like slightly-tarnished silver. the curled leaves look much more obviously golden in real life. and the brilliant embroidery thread of the handkerchief shines a little bit like precious metal. 

I don't remember the rest of the lyrics to the song, other than the basic title: Silver and Gold.

but I like the idea of using whatever we can to brighten some of the darkness this time of year. candles. sparkles. carols. 

during yoga church we came back a few times to a quote from Glennie Kindred. I don't want to merely regurgitate everything from yesterday into a blogpost here, so I'm posting just two snippets:

" is important to realize that this festival is not the beginning, in a linear way of looking at things, but a rebirth within a cycle in which the starting point chosen here is part of a vibrant whole. Therefore it is necessary to make a connection to what has gone before.

"Something old must die in order for something new to be reborn. This period of rest and darkness is a vital link in the cycle of life."

linearity vs. non-linearity is a (fittingly) constant source of pondering for me. it seems that the connotation of linear = straight, one-dimensional, confining, constricting. but I know that lines can be curvy and wild, too. a circle is also made of points on a line, sort of. 

it is easy to forget that, though. to make our stories about ourselves into stair-steps that only go one direction. 

yesterday, taking time to remember the bending arcs of things, the out and in, the back and forth-- that was very nice. our starting points and our ending points can be chosen. there can be palpable connections-- whether we make them ourselves or find them waiting for us-- to an infinite, cyclical, beautiful whole in each seemingly-insignificant little moment.

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