Thank you all so much for your care and concern about me in the days following the Christchurch earthquake. As many of you know, I was in Christchurch for a workshop with Noah Maze when the earthquake struck.
In the week since I’ve been home, I’ve received such an outpouring of love and support that I feel truly humbled and abundantly grateful for my yoga community. Although I wasn’t adversely affected by the earthquake, I have been very simply, yet profoundly impacted by it. The experience helped me to experience an even greater authentic and embodied integration of the lessons yoga has been teaching me for years.
When the earth shook me awake in the early hours of the morning, my instant fear reaction was followed almost immediately by a rush of relaxation and ease. The moment my brain had understood what was happening and determined that there was nothing I could do with all of the “fight or flight” energy that was flooding my body, I instantly, instinctively softened and allowed myself to roll with the waves underneath me. In that softening, that opening to the present moment, I was absolutely free.
I credit my reactions in those few seconds entirely to the training I’ve had on my yoga mat. Through practicing yoga, we all cultivate a pathway towards our own internal steadiness and strength. In a true crisis situation, part of real strength is being able to balance the innate urge to do something with the adrenaline surging through the body with the openness of surrendering to the moment.
It’s kind of funny that it took a real life natural disaster for me to more fully, viscerally appreciate this fine calibration of strength and surrender. Despite my sincere desire not to, I’m usually the first one to overreact in a situation that really does not benefit from a full-on response. It took a truly serious situation for all of the lessons I’ve been teaching myself (and others) to be integrated. The thing is, it was beyond rational thought, beyond intellectual reasoning. I didn’t do it. Some force greater than me, finished the job for me. It’s like I had put all of the building blocks in place and in the shaking, all of them fell into their rightful places and I finally understood better than I ever have before.
I am so grateful for the experience of the earthquake and for being able to stay in the community afterwards for another day and a half. The reality of the situation was humbling and hopeful all at the same time. From what I saw, despite the devastating consequences of the quake, the very best was brought out of people. Beyond lessons of personal strength and surrender, many people were obviously appreciating connection and interconnection much more fully than in everyday life. Sometimes, it seems, it takes everything falling apart for the most precious lessons of life to come together.