Can you say, “Whoa?” It’s my go to word as I practice yoga. You ask me why? What else is a girl to do if you are quarantined. This is the tree pose. They say it is a basic pose. I hope they don’t assume that because it is basic this pose is easy because my balance lasts for a half a second or even less. What you don’t see in this picture is me holding on to the chair and wall so I will appear stable. It’s all in the framing of the camera lens.
Boy how many spiritual lessons can you learn from that picture? The yoga instructor teaches to concentrate on grounding all points of foot into the floor. Then concentrate on lifting through your core, opening up your chest through your heart, creating a long neck and stretching your head to the ceiling. What? It’s kinda like Kevin teaching me how to golf, by the end of all the instructions my body is so contorted I miss the ball entirely. Yoga is hard but I keep trying. It is better for me to go one direction at a time.
Focus on planting my foot into the floor and feel the stability.
Kinda feels like my journey through this pandemic this year. Can you believe it? It’s almost been a full year when we first heard the phrase, “Shelter in place.” It’s kinda like my catch word in Yoga, “Whoa.” I never heard such a thing. What does shelter in place even mean? Trust me through these past eleven months I learned. I thought at times I was going to loose my mind. One friend said she was about to go postal. Yeah I get it. I’m not trying to make light of this virus because I’m not. I have had friends hospitalized and put in ICU units. I have friends die from COVID-19. So I isolate when I think I might have been exposed. I quarantine so as not to overwhelm the healthcare and the hospitals. But the isolation and the quarentines haven’t gone without their price tag.
Isolation goes against my very nature. And it goes against yours also. God created each of us for community. You have heard the phrase, “It takes a village…” Well it takes a village to do our part in this pandemic. Not only is it raging through our physical health, this virus plays havoc with our mental health also. People are fearful, people are lonely, businesses are closing, and jobs are being lost. The virus is no respector of people. It is an evil foe.
I often say, “I think I’m going to loose my mind.” I know I’m exaggerating. I’m not going to accidentally misplace it, but at times my fear, my worries, and my anxious thoughts cloud my mind. I miss my grandchildren and my children. I allow that situation to depress me, then I allow a lie to play a recording in my thoughts, “You will never get back to normal. Those grandkids will forget you. There won’t be anymore sleepovers.” I know silly right. I know my storm is not as fierce as others. I didn’t have to battle Covid. I haven’t lost a job. My business didn’t shut down. There was a saying at the beginning of the shut down. “We are all in the same boat.” One pastor said, “We may all be in the same boat, but we are not in the same storm.” And he was right. He was right, but we are all rowing our hardest to stay a float in our virus storms.
I want to share one of my oars I have been using to paddle through the waves. It is called practicing the Presence of God. It begins with the tenet’s of the tree pose, firmly planting myself into God’s foundation. I base myself on a Hebrew word, “kavanah,” which means to be aware that you’re standing in the presence of God. This comes from a devotion by Dave Adamson, “The rabbis teach that having an awareness of God brings passion to your prayers, worship, and study. It helps focus less on yourself, and more on God.” “To be aware of God in the small things is to focus on God in EVERYTHING.” “Kavanah is understanding that every day is a series of 1000s of tiny miracles…we just have to notice them.”
Kavanah and the tree pose take concentrated effort and focus. It takes a centering around our core. Our Creator is our core, whether we rocognize Him or not. Our lack of recognition of God does not negate the fact that He is God and He is ever present. God is here in our pandemic. We just have to notice Him and open up our hearts to His nearness and His Presence.
I told you earlier, you only saw stability in my picture. What you didn’t see was me holding onto the chair and the wall. I am learning my stability throught this season comes from me holding onto God with both hands, clinging with both arms, and planting with my whole self into His firm foundation.