root to rise

Put all the chaos in a huge drawer. Stop mourning here, yet wishing you were there. Use the present moment as a time to explore root to rise. In the yoga community, this phrase refers to becoming firmly planted in the foundation of a yoga pose so that the full posture can unfold in the most stable and solid way possible.

I first heard root to rise some years ago as a beginning yoga student in a workshop conducted by Matthew Sanford. A renowned yoga instructor, author, and inspirational speaker today, Matt was paralyzed in a car accident when he was thirteen. He broke his spinal cord, back, neck and both wrists. Although his father and sister were killed, his life miraculously was spared as a quadriplegic. He turned to yoga because he needed a way to unite the mystery of mind, body, and spirit. “It was accepting and staying open to whatever it [my body] produced – little or small, subtle or loud.”

Isn’t that where we are today during the pandemic? Staying open and accepting (to the degree we can) whatever developments are beyond our control. Allowing our bodies, minds, and spirits to adjust in ways of their own. Overriding our own fears by offering practical support to others.

Our world has been turned upside down, only this time, everyone, everywhere is affected. Many of us feel paralyzed or increasingly tightened parameters. We fear for ourselves, our loved ones, our jobs, our retirement savings, and the future. We don’t like being told what to do. Everything seems surreal. Discouragement. Despair. Defeat. How to co-exist with the global mystery that changes daily, yet is still so far from comprehension? Root to rise.

As in strengthening the foundation of a yoga pose so that the final posture is unwavering, we turn inward to develop stability, confidence, and trust in a greater energy so that we can weather chaos. The stronger the foundation, the greater the stability.

We intend that our hearts will continue to soften as we face life as it comes to us. As we remain steady, I am reminded of my grandmother’s favorite saying during challenging times: This, too, shall pass. We have time to slow down, get quiet, breathe, and rest in our sacred inner space, that deeply rooted core of  dependable comfort. This is our foundation, our offering for a stronger diverse and loving world.

It is up to us to explore the possibilities of what if during what is, in order to discover what might be—a new direction of being and relating. It is these possibilities that we bring to the collective and, ultimately, will enable us to rise together.

The pandemic is a wake-up call to look beyond ourselves to all members of our community. How can rooting during our sheltering in time help us to see differently our dependence on and need for each other? A common bond of talents, gifts, and expertise emerges as we shift to an inclusive perspective. United in hope and committed to a new way of interacting, we move forward, shoulder to shoulder. It is about community.

Why not rise above the chaos, relax fears, stop blaming others, and thank those in medical leadership for their courage, quick thinking, and selflessness? As we root to rise, we understand the wisdom in the value of the present moment and in the increasing openness of hearts and minds. We are not distracted.

From a higher vantage:

© 2020 in the thick of things

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