It’s peach season here in Washington. The trees in the orchards that line the hilltops of this beautiful land are bursting with produce, ripe for the picking. Last week I spent the morning at one of the local farms harvesting a large box. My produce drawer, freezer and then belly quickly became filled with the delicious tastes of the sun ripened fruit.
Yesterday as I began to feel the impact of this deep reaching out into the world to offer something that is profoundly meaningful to me, I started to worry. I began to wonder if all my years of training and the pressing I felt from the depths of my being to offer this reaching would resonate with others. Yoga has been a personal practice of connection, healing and peace for me for so many years. I felt comfortable teaching in my community, sharing with friends and neighbors, but could I now expand that sharing more widely? Would others sense the sincerity of my offering?
As these thoughts swirled and I came onto my mat to teach my afternoon class, the beautiful image of the peaches returned to me. I cued my class to hold this gesture and invite the image of abundance. We visualized the blessings, gifts, and beauty in our lives filling the cup we created to receive it. As we practiced yoga together for the next hour and a half, this principle of abundance kept returning. As my mind and heart filled with the images of all the abundance in my life, my concerns faded away. I knew that my offering would somehow reach the hearts and hands of those who need it.
In yoga we learn the concept of the shadow side, that there is a shadow to the light. As someone who chooses to live and focus in light, when I first learned this concept I struggled to understand it. But there is power in being able to recognize the shadow side of our thoughts. We all struggle, we all doubt, it is part of our human nature. It is important that we recognize that the shadow is there, not to push it aside or pretend it doesn’t exist. When we feel doubt and fear, we can simply acknowledge it as our reality in that moment. But then, for each of us, comes the moment of decision. The power comes when we recognize our capacity to choose. When we are in the shadow, we can choose to cultivate the quality of light. We can choose to invite space into our mind for the opposite quality. Yesterday, for me, it was abundance. As I “saw” abundance in my mind, it filled my heart. The light of that quality shined brighter than the shadow of my previous doubts.
So today, if you are in the shadow, it’s okay. It’s part of the human experience. Acknowledge it. Identify what you are feeling. Then, if you feel ready, try this simple practice. Place the palm of one hand gently on your heart and let the other hand come into the shape of a cup and allow it to turn to the sky. Ask your heart what it needs, what quality would bring the power of light into your life. Sit quietly until your heart speaks. Then gently bring the hands together in the gesture above – both hands cupped to receive. Invite that quality to come to you. Rest in it. Simply feel and sense the quality of light that emerges.
There are trees that are full to bursting all around you. I know. I saw them. They are beautiful.