Vacation was good.
It was lovely to escape to the Adirondacks and be nestled in the woods with my husband, my son, my parents, their dog, my sisters, my brother in-law and my nephew.
My parents rent a beautiful, historic, grand home just up the hill from downtown Lake Placid as an early Christmas present to all of us. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it’s turned into a lovely family tradition.
In the past this trip has been synonymous with indulgence. Over packing. Over eating. Over drinking. Over sleeping. Over shopping. Over doing. Making that five-hour trek back to Billerica nothing short of miserable.
But, this time it’s different.
I packed my yoga mat and Yoga for Beauty DVD and invited everyone to join me in the living room at 6:30 the next morning for a dawn practice.
My mom asked if we could push to 7:00.
“I don’t think so,” I said, “we don’t want to miss the sunrise.”
Though, I was a bit nervous about waking up so early on a “getaway” – aside from when Briggs has demanded it, I’d never willfully done that before.
“I’ll see what I feel like,” my Mom said. “But, if I’m not there by twenty-past just start without me.”
I woke up at 5:30.
I didn’t want to cheat my Mom out of the practice in case she decided to join, so I decided to use the extra time to set up the room.
I cleaned the debris from the first night festivities and decided to start a fire in the old, well-used fireplace. I set up the candles I brought. Found the yoga DVD and set it up in the player. But I for whatever reason, I decide to keep the disc laying in the tray, ejected from the player.
When the room felt right, I sat on my yoga mat and just practiced my breathing. My listening. The crackle from the fire was soothing and the distant creaks from the long-standing home welcomed me in to this place where families have been gathering for centuries.
I don’t know how much time passed, but gently and suddenly, I was lifted out of my meditation by the sound of the yoga DVD being taken in to the player all on it’s own.
I didn’t know what time it was…
I should probably tell you that I use the same yoga DVD each morning, so I know it, by heart. It always begins with an advertisement for other programs by the producer, then the disk menu, then the choosing of screen size, then the familiar soothing music and lovely welcoming from the instructor, Rainbeau Mars.
But, on this morning, somehow the commercial, the disk menu, even the formatting prompt are skipped over and I’m brought right to the start of the practice.
So, yes, I didn’t know what time it was, but I was sure it was time to begin.
At the end of Rainbeau’s welcoming, for whatever reason, I rotate my mat and decide not to look at the screen, but instead face the window.
This has never occurred to me before.
I go through the practice the way I usually do. Staying connected to my breath. Following Rainbeau’s suggestions. And silently repeating the following mantra:
Reveal thyself in love. In health. In beauty and connection.
I recently watched the film Awake on Netflix – about the first yogi to bring yoga to the West. That’s where I got the “reveal thyself,” part – and honestly, in saying it so often, I thought that what I might be wishing for was some kind of literal revelation. For something or someone to somehow magically appear.
And the love, the health, the beauty, and the connection – those were the things I was wishing for me, of course.
But, then, while in practice here in this grand home in the hills of the Adirondacks. In front of this warming fire. As I’m transitioning from one pose to another. Lifting my head to the sky, and repeating: in beauty.
I see it.
The sun is rising.
The sky has magically (in seemingly an instant) run through every hue of pink and red you can imagine, and the tall pines and the far off flakes of snow dusting the mountains in the distance catch light. And the entire landscape out this frail window seems to dance. And sing.
And for the first time, I am aware of the “in” in my intention. Reveal thyself IN love. IN health. IN connection…in beauty.
I finish the practice and I am filled.
For the first Thanksgiving of my entire 34 years, I am truly and completely full.
2 thoughts on “A Long Hard Lonely Winter”
Hey Amanda, did you know that Scott is now a Certified yoga instructor? I took him to a yoga class and he was hooked. It was a 200 hour course and he loved it. Sounds like you would make a wonderful instructor. Namaste, Barbara.
That’s awesome. I am so happy I found yoga – truly life changing.