Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Yoga for me is Kintsukurio (Pronounced: kin-tsU-kU-roi): To Repair with Gold

Yoga for me is Kintsukurio (Pronounced: kin-tsU-kU-roi): To Repair with Gold

Today’s post is about healing.

The Process:

I am like you. I have had a blessed life.  Within these blessings, I have had pain. My heart has been broken. I have been horribly hurt. I have felt rejected. I have been rejected (literally- half my job here at the university is submitting grants and articles that get rejected). I have failed. And I know real loss.

One of my favorite quotes is by Ernest Hemmingway,

“Life breaks everyone
some of us are strong
In the
broken places.”

That quote is from the book Farwell to Arms* a beautiful book about a horrible construct- war.

For many years, to negotiate my hurt I used my brain, my thinking. I used my intellect to shore things up. It was sometimes difficult to intellectualize everything that had happened. Seane Corn calls this, “over understanding.” I am really good at that. Essentially it is a “bypass” (see Seane Corn) of emotional processing.

I wanted this strong-in-the-broken-places to which Hemingway referred. Yet, somehow the intellectualizing was not quite the mend.

I took my first yoga class in 2000. I was 35 years old. I thought I knew my body. I was a swimmer in college and at that point had run several marathons and even competed in a few triathlons. I had stamped out eating disordered behavior (really- stamped it out- not processed it). I was disciplined and “fine.”

The fix at that point was like two by fours nailed across a broken fence- barely containing things.

My relationship to yoga was intellectual at first. I studied it. I created prevention program for girls so that they could learn about yoga and other life skills. I wanted them to have the tools that I wish I had at their age (see Catherine’s Books- on this blog).

It was years of that and dabbling in my own practice that slowly and gradually sank into the fractures of me.

I learned that in yoga you are not empty, but full- full of light and love. In yoga, you work to slowly shed the obstacles until the light is seen for all of its beauty and brightness. 

It seems that during these years, I was a healing from the inside out.

What I considered to be cracks and flaws were filled with gold light- a gold light that was coming from within. Instead of covering up the cracks and trying to nail them shut with boards and nails. I let the light shine through the fractures, the beautiful cracks and breaks that my life had given me.

Image from the Facebook Page Word Porn- See link below

There are more factures than I can list here (I have had a good and rich life):

Fracture: Moving many, many times as a kid growing up- Gold: acceptance and flexibility

Fracture: Not being able to get to my starting block at the Junior Olympics,  being hurt by my high school love, failing out of college and getting lost in a year of self-destruction- Gold: the light of compassion.

Fracture: The falling apart of my first marriage Gold: humility.

Fracture: Being terrified when my youngest daughter was born non-reactive with essentially no APGAR (she’s okay now)- Gold: gratitude.

Gold: Letting the light shine as my yoga practice grows lets me let others love me. As my practice grows so do my relationships. Seems that when I open my heart and honor in myself what I feared others might perceive as failures and flaws, I let my loved ones in.

So, yoga for me is Kintsukurio- to repair with gold. 

Here is the secret-- the gold is on the inside.

Zuri’s Story

Zuri finds these notes. She is on her way to school and pretty excited because she is going to take her first yoga class after school with her best friend Emily.

I am so happy for Zuri, because she is 13 years old. It is my dream for yoga to be available for all kids so that can have these tools as they face all of the challenges life is bringing them. Zuri is already letting her light shine from the inside. She is going to LOVE yoga.

She pauses on the way to school. It is a beautiful day in late fall in Buffalo. The air is crisp. The leaves are every color, some on the trees and many on the ground. The sun is clear and the sky is brilliantly blue.

“Ah,” then she breathes in. “To repair with gold,” She thinks as she exhales.

The yoga teacher who has come to her school to help is Miss Amanda (Amanda means much-loved).  She works at a yoga studio in Snyder, NY just outside of the city. She is 25 years old and so excited to meet the kids after school.

The kids come in. There are about 20 of them ranging from grade 6 to grade 8. There are mostly all girls and a few boys (some girls brought their brothers- Zuri thinks its likely their moms made them come). Zuri and Emily grab two mats right  by each other.

Miss Amanda takes time and introduces herself. The children share their names and what they know about yoga. No one has done yoga before. They get started.

They learn child’s post, and forward fold, and chair pose, and warriors one and two and three. They learn king dancer pose. They do sun salutations and they laugh as they try to balance in tree. At the end, they lie in savasana. They are a bit sweaty and their hearts are beating in their chests. Miss Amanda asks them to place their hands on their chest over their hearts.

Miss Amanda says, “Do you feel that? Do you feel your beautiful heart beat? Your heart beat is a miracle. And there is only one heart beat-- ever and for all time-- just like yours. You are a miracle. There is a big bright light that shines within you. The world wants to see you. You shine your lights.”

She then asked them to focus on their breath. The room was so quiet and peaceful. Zuri felt her whole body radiate- radiate gold. She thought, “To repair with gold. That is my yoga.”

Then Miss Amanda asked them to slowly come to a seated position, ankles crossed and hands at Namaste.

She said, “The light in me sees the light in you. Namaste.”

Zuri, Emily, and all of the children said, “Namaste.”

To repair with gold…..


Purchase Farewell to Arms Here

The photo is from the Facebook page Word Porn – Check it out


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