I've been thinking about plans lately, because I've got a lot of them this year. And, because so far, some of my plans haven't worked out quite as expected.
First there was my trip to Dallas for a weekend workshop with my teacher, during which I fell and sprained my ankle. Then, this past week, my friend, Irene, came for her annual visit, to which we both look forward all year. Even before she arrived, though, we knew that she might have to cut her visit short, because her brother had been diagnosed with a potentially life threatening illness. And indeed, that's what happened - she's on her way to see him now.
I've learned to try to find a balance between looking forward to planned events, but not getting too invested in them. That's not always easy, especially when you are really, really, REALLY looking forward to something.
But when things go awry, it also becomes easier to focus on what really matters. In Dallas, I had to totally shift my expectations away from how I had expected the workshop to go for me, and to embrace a whole different perspective on participation and learning - while also keeping my ankle safe!
And, as much as Irene and I had looked forward to a long stretch of hanging out together, as soon as the situation with her brother was clear, we shifted into letting go of the expectations we'd had and honed in on what was now important: making arrangements to get her where she needed to go in the timeframe she needed to get there. We had two lovely days together, and though we were sad to have it cut short, we both also felt good and peaceful that she was doing the right thing.
I don't know that there is any big message here other than not to hold too tightly too our plans. It's just what I'm thinking about, given these two situations coming within weeks of each other. And, of course, I'm hoping this isn't a trend that will hold for the whole year. But if it is, I'm sure I/we will adapt accordingly, because, well, that's Life!
For February, I've focused my classes on heart openers - or back bends - because we associate February with Valentine's Day and hearts and love and all that good stuff. In my more advanced class, we worked our way up to Urdhva Dhanurasana, or "Upward Facing Bow Pose," often called Wheel. We had fun exploring the dynamics of coming into this challenging pose: arm and shoulder strength, open shoulders, flexibility, long relaxed muscles and the front body's ability to stretch.
So, here I am, doing the pose out on our lanai.You can see that it's the shape of an archer's bow, facing upward - hence the name. And you can see how it opens and stretches the chest and the heart space. As I mentioned, it's a challenging pose, but one that makes you feel great! With openness in our hearts, we are more able to adapt to life's surprises - especially the curve balls.