Yoga, Equanimity, Tarot and more!
A lot of threads came together in a lovely pattern this weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you. Be patient, the weaving takes some storytelling. This is one of the many things I experienced Friday through Sunday! Before this weekend, I was spiraling into a mild sense of “lackawanna;” forgive the pun on Lackawanna, NY, and not wanting to do all the things I have or want to do. There was nothing specific going on, no big tragedies and no big frustrations or challenges; it was all just a sense of dull, grayness. I even skipped my two weekday yoga practices last week.
Then came the weekend. I signed up for the Lumberjill weekend retreat and it was a big renewal. The yoga studio where I practice, Pure and Simple Yoga teaches a variety of yoga styles including Svaroopa, Kripalu, Kundalini, and Bowspring. I practice Kundalini and Bowspring on a regular basis. Peg Engasser, the Bowspring teacher is also a LumberJill, competing on the U.S. team. She wanted to get together with her Lumberjill friends in the winter time, teach yoga, learn a few things, and have fun. The weekend included delicious food, all the weekend yoga practices, a hike, a painting party at Uncorked Creations Cortland It all worked and each woman had a profound, beautiful, and unique-to-her experience.
Pure and Simple Yoga has a theme for this year, 2017 is the year for experiencing Universal Love. For the first(ish) ten weeks the studio is guiding a Ten Weeks of Yoga to Open Your Heart. Each week, newsletter recipients receive an email with a write up, a pose, and a truly beautiful mandala incorporating it all. Each teacher incorporates the theme into their practice as their tradition and hearts lead. This weekend was the beginning of the sixth week and the theme is Equanimity: Being Peace. The write-up is beautiful so I’ve excerpted a portion below (no author given).
Equanimity is defined as a state of mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temperament. Equanimity is not a state of indifference or not caring but instead a practice of caring about all outcomes equally without adding judgement. Keeping an open mind and a balanced perspective allows us to feel pleasure without grasping on to it and to feel without trying to push it away.
Equanimity, then, allows us to experience all events and emotions from that state of welcoming calm. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it. Fortunately, none of us has to be perfect all the time, but rather to practice the emotion as best we can. Today, for instance, I got an email from someone sharply criticizing something I did using background and data that is to put it, elegantly and appropriately mature, absolute bull ka-ka. Instead of doing my omigods and verbal expletives, my reaction was ‘well that’s no surprise.’ and proceeded to discuss this with my colleague with a calm and matter of fact demeanor. We are able to fashion a neutral and appropriate response. That probably won’t stop me from satirizing my own response, but I’m not doing damage, just amusing myself. Here again, equanimity becomes a practice and something to be aware of and welcome rather than something to strive for and achieve.
The weekend turned out to be an exploration of equanimity. On Friday, we had a session of Tarot, with most people never having exposure. As part of the party, I had each person draw a card and then I read them all. As usual, I don’t remember it all, but I do remember the card I drew, the Two of Pentacles because it came up for me all weekend and into the week. In our discussion, I pointed out that the figure in the Pentacles card on the right was in constant motion, indeed everything is in motion, and yet the figure is able to keep hold of the two objects and even weave them into a pattern. I describe the Two of Swords to them as another card of balance where every muscle is focused on using stillness to balance the objects and even the background is still. If there was movement, the balance may be impossible to achieve or, at the very least look very different. The movement of the Two of Pentacles corresponds with the yoga postures of balance (especially in Bowspring) where adjustments, wobbling, weaving, and even falling are all part of the ways to greet and embrace balance.
Twos and the number twos are, to me, about the integration of what you’ve learned thus far. You may not know everything and you may not even know what you don’t know, but what you have learned has been embraced if full and equal measure. The lessons, be they challenging or joyful, have been integrated and understood. There is more to come but for now, the peace of however you define where you are is in the being. See what I did there? I brought us back to the theme: Equanimity: Being Peace.
Just a little more to add to this post: I couldn’t participate in all the events and at first I was a little resentful of what pulled me away but I felt better about doing it than not doing it. The Kripalu yoga practice on Saturday morning was a release of some sort, all the angst and bitchiness of the weeks before released. I’m not even sure what it all was but I thanked it for teaching me and let it go. Then the Kundalini practice on Sunday morning filled me the peace of balance.
May you find the peace and equanimity in being present to it all.