Whether Yoga or Writing, It’s All About Showing Up.

by Susan D. Taylor
Regardless of where I’m headed, the ability to get to the destination is the point. Right?
Well, that’s where things get tricky. For me at least.
In writing and yoga, as with most journeys, it begins with the proverbial first step which is nothing more than coming across a threshold.
In a world that spins, our lives are nothing but change. By our very existence, flux is our destiny, and yet it is the essence of the moment in which life occurs.From breath to breath we live. And yet we strive for permanence or the idea that we must find our footing.
In writing it is possible yet impossible. The words may remain on a page yet the writer beyond cannot do anything but evolve. In yoga it’s the same. For many, the idea of yoga is chanting, stretching, unfurling. In truth, yoga is about undoing and letting go as much as it is about pushing boundaries until they no longer exist. Isn't writing the same?
A word of caution is that evolution is not always easy or comfortable or without strain. Either practice, can at times, be a painful struggle. For those who return again, they've found the key and the rhythm is more often a retreat.
As a practitioner of both I've found one never knows what will happen regardless of the goals set.
And so each day is a challenge to show up. Consistently return again and again.
And what does it mean to return? To writing and yoga, each day is an opportunity. A doorway or window—a choice to cross into another realm.
Beyond a willingness to try, nothing is actually required but I bring everything I’ve ever been given. At times the luggage is burdensome, and a porter is almost needed the bags are so heavy. Other days, the act is a delight for the memories and experiences ease the flow. I may try to control what I bring, but often I can’t. Does it matter when showing up is all that is needed?

There is a little trick I’ve learned. Nothing crafty or novel (no pun there). It’s to tell myself I’ll just show myself. No demand to remain. Only to come to the mat or chair.
Nothing more is required and I am unrestrained if I want to leave.
So I unfurl the mat or boot the computer. And of course, I don’t leave.
It was when I discovered there was a choice in staying and nil was expected, that I put aside expectations for the perfect practice or perfect line. I willingly come owning my imperfections instead of being haunted by them.
Luckily, yoga and writing are comfortable existing side-by-side. I love the practice of both. For what other activities can you do in your pajamas?
The journey and destination are mindful, definitely less focused on the body or material world. A vacation from everything almost. For seconds or hours, it is possible to be transported toward another realm, yet be utterly content within a room.

The practice of writing and yoga simply require that I show up. For many including myself, it can be a difficult feat.
I try to recall, once in the chair or on the mat, there is freedom to be (remember the trick). In writing and in yoga, there are poses or pieces that I work.

In both practices improvement is hoped for, yet it is the expression that I live through seeking steady grace. Turning, twisting, stretching until there is a moment of release. The destination. This growth may be incremental, so tiny without measure, or huge, mind-blowing. Both are taxing to define absolutely. No matter, it is possible to be freed into the moment where nothing else exists. And then the world fades. All at once the body is in the background and the mind is delivered, for a short time, into another dimension.

Perhaps if someone were watching, she’d see me in my PJ’s and think not much was going on. Hah. That happens a lot I’m positive.
But what may be unremarkable, or invisible, to others is I’ve shown up. I’ve taken the choice to open up. If I try to force my mind or body to work. Good luck with that. By chance what comes through in writing or a yoga practice is evident in something I do in the external world. Writing that unfolds in a manuscript or holding a pose a tad longer. Or not.
Yet as writer and practitioner, I am growing each time I come and practice.
The next time you see someone who has shown up and can’t imagine what they’re doing. Congratulate them on just being. On the fact they’re willing to try. Regardless of if they stay or have something tangible to show. For coming through the door was a majority of the struggle. And deciding to show up another time—when a million things are easier to do—requires a faith in the craft and practice.
For who knows if that next time, one more time, may make all the difference in the world.

My recommendation for the holidays!

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