“You don’t have to make life happen. In fact, you can’t. Relax. Let go. And let life happen.” ~ Melody Beattie
It was the month of October, somewhere in the late 1980s and I had four little children anxiously awaiting the Holiday of Candy, otherwise known as Halloween. I know it must have been the Hershey company, or Nestle or Mars who first dangled a Snicker bar in front of a six-year-old and said, “all you have to do is dress up as a ghost or a princess and knock on your neighbors door and you will be rewarded with chocolate.” What child could resist such temptation? And what child would not pester their parents into participating in the sugar free-for-all? So it was, in our home, in the weeks before this particular Halloween that I began preparing for Beggars Night. Individual costumes that reflected individual personalities were designed. I did not dare run to K-Mart for a pre-fabricated ensemble. Instead I sat before my sewing machine stitching Jack-O-Lantern body suits, or I scavenged my mother’s attic to find vintage style hats and dresses. There was no last minute, thrown-together, Halloween prep. Decorations were deliberate, costumes were constructed and candy was carefully chosen, knowing I would pilfer the leftovers and hide them in my own private cache, as Mommy Treats, when the kids weren’t looking.
Anticipation was high as the holiday approached that year, but a shadow of uncertainty tickled fear in my subconscious that was more frightening than ghosts or witches or snaggle-toothed pumpkins. It was, The Forecast. At the end of October, in the plains of the Midwest, the weather could fluctuate from summer heat, to sub-zero wind chills, to heavy droplets of pelting rain driven horizontally across the landscape, carrying masses of maple leaves being pulled from the trees and smacked across the faces of little Halloween beggars and their parent chaperones. But the forecast for this Halloween was even worse. The weathermen predicted an ice storm. And as morning dawned, the sun was held hostage behind the darkness of clouds, heavy with precipitation, and it came. Rain that fell through a frozen sky and solidified on every surface into ice, as clear and heavy and slick as wet glass. Trees heaved under the weight. Limbs fell. Hedges parted in the middle as their branches sagged to the ground and stuck to the frozen grass. The pavement glistened under its icy sheath. School was called off. Halloween was cancelled. Mutiny mounted and I realized I was in hostile territory trapped inside the house with four very disappointed kids and 200 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
Back then I was pretty quick on my feet. I sent out an SOS to my friends with small children who would be in a similar fix, and we made plans. That night we dressed our little goblins in their Halloween attire, gathered up our booty of candy and treats, and carefully fishtailed our minivans on ice-slickened streets, to Pizza Hut.
Planning. Preparation. Fixation. Anticipation. And then Life Happens. An unexpected storm created by weather or words or actions or tragedy bursts into the day and we are bereft of the future we had carefully calculated. So, we are told to live in the moment. To be here, now. But it’s not easy to suspend ourselves in single increments of time. We want to manipulate the future. We rehash the past.
Practicing yoga in our daily lives is an effective way of being present. Our physical bodies are always in the present. Our living, breathing structures of bone and tissue do not exist in the past and cannot hop into the future, but instead are experiencing each moment, as it happens, in the location we are in. Yoga on the mat brings us into our bodies and gives us the opportunity to feel what is happening on the inside in a particular parcel of time. Meditation settles our bodies and quiets the outside stimulation that distracts us.
Yoga is more than Warrior pose on a rubber mat. Yoga is relishing the warmth of sun on your skin. Yoga is softening into the strength of a comforting embrace. Yoga is yielding to the temptation to vent anger or inflict hurt. Practicing yoga means to marinate in every storm that life presents; day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute with appreciation that we have been gifted this snippet of time. Our moment may be heavy with discomfort or illuminated with joy. It could be light with laughter or satisfied by chocolate. It may be covered in cold, and too difficult to navigate right now, but we allow it because we don’t really make life happen. It happens. Our power is to let it happen, and to live it.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.