My Mat and Me

Photo credit: Pamela Crane
Photo credit: Pamela Crane

So far in 2013, it has been so busy in my head. I’m juggling a lot of projects. Job applications. Stuff for church. Newsletters. Classes. Workshops. Websites. Editing. So somewhere around Christmas I dropped yoga and meditation. Too much to do.

On Saturday, I practiced yoga for the first time in weeks. On Sunday, my hammies hurt—and rightfully so. They had a righteous indignation of not being used.

More than my lack of flexibility, though, what is driving me back to the mat is the desperate need for God in my heart, soul, and mind. I suppose you could call it a lack of flexibility in my mind and heart. There’s no breathing space in me. (Anyone else hearing echoes of Too Busy Not to Pray?)

On Sunday, my heart hurt, too—echoing my unused hamstrings.

And yes, I am doing a lot. And no, the fate of the world does not rest on any of it (except the job application, of course). But, frankly, it’s not insurmountable piles of stuff. It’s just a lot of little stuff that needs attention right now.

So I plan. I plan a lot. I plan for research trips, for babies, for jobs…  and none of this depends on me. None of it. I mean, in some ways it does. I have to apply for the job to get the job. But whether or not I get the job does not rely on me. Whether or not my book is published is not in my control. And I certainly cannot plan the timing.

But I want to. I want to plan it all.

On Saturday—and this is what compelled me back to the mat—I began reading Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. I didn’t get past the preface, where Manning includes the following blessing: “May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit.”

My husband says it sounds more like a curse.

But this saying is in my head and won’t stop—so it’s my curse/blessing/thing to mull over:

May my expectations—for a book, a job, a plan—be frustrated.

May all my plans—for research trips and babies someday (when the time is right? when is the time ever right to have your life disrupted by an 8 lb. bundle of wailing and pooping joy?)—be thwarted.

May all my desires—for control, stability, a vested 401K—be withered into nothingness.

You have no idea how much this scares me. Or maybe you do. I work so hard to try to stay where I am on the food chain. So hard to be good enough for a longer contract. So hard to be good enough to be a published author.

None of it is guaranteed. None of it can really be planned. I can only do the next thing, not knowing what the next next thing will be.

But I try to plan. I try so hard. And by trying so hard, I dropped / ignored my yoga practice. I dropped the one activity in my life that requires that I LET GO of all my trying so hard to be good enough.

I dropped meditation, which requires trust. Trust that if I stop to be and breathe, the world will still go on. God still exists without my efforts.

The end of the blessing is this: “That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit.”

I’m sure there are other ways of experiencing God too, ways that don’t require dropping everything. Even in this upside-down blessing, I don’t think that experiencing God requires dropping hope. This upside-down blessing asks me to remember that in the context of the galaxy, I’m smaller than an ant. This upside-down blessing asks me to remember that all of life—especially the life-giving moments in the context of my day—comes from God.

If I plan everything, when does God get to surprise me?

So…  my first step of surrendering my planning is to go to the mat, move, and breathe.

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5 thoughts on “My Mat and Me

  1. Thanks Renee…this echoes my brain lately. My centering prayer word has been TRUST for a while, and it feels like I am going to need it to be that forever. So needed to read this!

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