This Little Light ‘o Mine: Reflections for When the Path Grows Dim

I have been awash with jealousy.

It is not a thing I am eager to admit.

I met her when we were both newish teachers, a year into the game, about 5 years back.
We solidified our bond when we both had babies in our bellies.
Both our firsts.
Both girls.
Born a mere 5 weeks apart.
(I joke that she gets a pass for her absentee-ism at my BlessingWay as that was the day her daughter saw fit to make her way into the world. Pardon. Granted.)

During that time we took walks and talked about our growing bodies, waning energy levels and the changes to our practice.
We talked about the changes to come.
Our dudes – turned out they worked in the same industry.
Our frustrations & fears.
And some good, thoroughly geeked-out yoga talk that only a few can truly relate to: “I know, right?! Toooootal mula bhanda right there. …”

Our wee ones had their first “playdate” when mine was just a mite eight days old.

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Over the years, the parallels and similarities have piled up.
We’ve had students walk up to us in the halls, ready to spark a conversation, thank one of us for Thursday’s class, only to realize a few minutes in that, “Oh, wait. Not this one. The other one.”

But also, over the years, somewhere – the parallels have dissipated and re-arranged themselves in contrarian angles as well. Her one girl child quickly morphed into two, while my own family continued on in trio form.
We bought a big house on a big, sprawling piece of land and started talking about plans.
She and her guy re-financed an upside-down mortgage and halted construction on a half-gutted house that is still theirs’ to live in – till the tide turns in their favor.
We had a good year and socked some money away.
They had a rough one and are learning to make due.

But the linchpin in all of this boils down to this.
I injured my hip, a mysterious lingering malaise that still rears its’ vexing head even now, a year later.
I settled into the sort of practice that she and I have always secretly sneered at in hushed tones, the downgraded version of the form we hushingly call, “Old People Yoga”. I stopped running and hand-standing and hopping and over-exerting and watched the lingering “baby weight” settle in for an elongated stay.
Meanwhile, my friend launched a self-sculpted Instagram display – devoting herself to 10-20 minutes of well-documented monkey business every day – hop-ups, drop-backs, 20-second mid-room pincha-mayurasana holds, and twisty-twirly-funky side crow variations and such.
It didn’t start out looking like much, several months back.
But she has been diligent.
She has been focused, keen, hopeful & spry.
And consequently, my parallel-sister-doppelganger friend – has taken on a certain shine – a pallor, which it seems, I currently, do not possess.

People take notice of the shifting, leaner lines of her body, the brightness dialed up a notch inside her skin and eyes.
A new choir of admirers flocks to tap the little heart icon and leave their awestruck comments below her latest demonstration of kinesthetic grace & skill.

My skin stays the same, perhaps even a bit more crinkly-wrinkly than a year before.
My shine continues to stay dim – so far as I can see.
And the little heart icon — below the little musings and humble pitter-patter that I bleet out into the ether now and then — grows dim and quiet, blurring into the backdrop of unremarkable moments that comprise my life.

This jealousy business bodes unwell within me.
It makes me feel uneasy and off-balance.
I wonder if it turns me to a shitty friend.
What’s more, it defies logic.
It makes me scratch my head in twain.

For here is this woman, friend, mirror, pal – who lacks so many of the basic things which I, in fact, possess – and yet I crave what small gems have been allotted her.
Where I have space that’s ample, she carves out a tiny corner where she can.
Where I can dip my feet into a pool of resources that is deep and wide, she sprinkles together what can be found, in order to float the tiny boat a small length or so more.
From the tiny flickers of hope nestled inside her world, she has fanned a worthy flame.
She has taken the limited notes that she’s been granted and she’s made them f*cking Sing.

And I suppose that’s the rub.

For while I’m standing here, admiring her hard-won treasures, greedily wishing them for my own – I deny the gift within me.
By staring so astutely, so hungrily and achingly gazing at the light cast forth by my hard-working chum – I turn my back on the Sun, the moon, the stars – that perhaps, even now- are trying to work their cosmic Sheen through me.
I linger in darkness a beat, a day, a week or so more.

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I am at a place in my teaching, in my practice, in my adhikara (my studentship), where, six years in, I am ready for something More.
I am ready to dig deeper, go further, push limits, and implode old ways.
I am ready to continue the work it takes to be a true Bearer of Transformation – A Truth Teller – a Light Worker – a Guide.
And, when I look at it honestly, I had a certain view of what that would look like.
What shape that new blooming would take.

I thought it would look a lot like my friend.
With fancy-schmancy arm-balances and accolades and sh*t.

But my light doesn’t shine that way it turns out.
At least not in this Moment.
My offerings don’t come in happy-shiny, five-steps-to-Eka Pada Koundinyasana pdf-form at this point in time.
Instead I have been learning the ropes of Humility,
the steps of unravelling Grace.
I am being shown the proper alignment of Gratitude.
I have been made a student of breath, awaiting, and Being with What Is.

The peak poses occur as gentle, spouting epiphanies inside my head and heart.
I am learning to show up in all kinds of ways beyond the mat.
And I am being taught the path of Intention inside the studio(s) of my marriage, my mothering, my friendships, my bank balance, my Life.

A thing decidedly less sexy than the forearm-balances that I was hoping to share with you all by now, but a treasure, nonetheless.

Injury has stepped in to be my teacher.
A thing I would not have chosen on my own.
But she’s brought me things a perfect handstand may have not.
She’s shown me how to show up where I am – to breathe, to allow, to emit a humble sliver of the Light.
She’s allowed me to drop into the seat of the student once more, rather than espouse a bunch of high-minded answers I don’t yet possess.
She’s haltingly brought me to a recognition – We all get a slice of the Gods’ Glory pie – whether or not it’s the shape, size or flavor we prefer.

We can all sing in the choir.
Even if our voice is small.

We know the cracks – the conundrums, the vexation and the brokenness that we possess – are where the Light gets in.
But it’s what we choose to do with the pieces – broken or not – that determine how much Light – we send back out.

To my girl, I say:: Shine on, lady. Keep #kickingass and I will watch you glow.
And I’ll learn how to harness my own lick of the Divine flame in my own humble way.

Together::: we’ll brighten up this corner where we stand.

 

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Amy Day has been teaching asana classes & creating work around sacred circles, for the past 6 years. She loves the place where the Sublime & the humdrum intersect, and chanting to her students on the ukulele. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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