I got back on my mat today.
It's been a minute (okay, months) since I heard that flicker and assumed the stance for my yoga practice. As may have been evident by the two abysmal posts from 2015, that was a year that saw me on the whelmed side of things. Though 2015 had some great highlights-Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Mexico come to mind, over-all, I was incredibly happy to kiss 2015 good-bye. It was just a year filled with strife and grief in the world, and one where I struggled to maintain balance. So it is not without surprise that I am kickstarting 2016 off with a heavy dose of the practices which help to stay centred, open-hearted, and capable of dealing with stress. Namely: meditation and yoga.
Today's yoga session was, not surprisingly, exactly what I needed. A therapeutic class intended to open up tired muscles and detox the organs, our teacher also dropped in words that I needed to hear. She spoke about surrendering; breathing; releasing tension; bowing to ourselves; listening to our needs; opening our hearts. Again and again, as she spoke of our bodies, I heard only: let go; stretch; release. SURRENDER. I could feel myself relaxing, my edges getting a bit softer. In a way that has become almost foreign to me in the last few months, by the end of the session, I felt grounded. Aware. Full of vitality. I felt... alive again.
My word for 2016 is PRESENCE. By this, I mean that I want to be tuned into those around me, able to enjoy the moment, free from past stories that might colour an experience. Free of distractions Ultimately, it is a call to be mindfully aware. As I have given it some thought, it also comes with a mandate to SURRENDER to the now. This historically has been a challenge for me, as my nature is to ideate and problem solve, always thinking 10 steps ahead. When I am on the mat, I am able to let all of that go, and just tune into the practice. Similarly to what happens when I meditate, I usually walk away with answers to questions that had been plaguing me. As simple as that, put the problem aside and answers will arise!
So here we go. Day two into this new year and I'm feeling great about what lies ahead: 363 more days of deep breathing, surrendering, and embracing the moment that is before me.
May 2016 be a year that we all look back on and remember fondly. Whatever comes your way, know that I am here to be with you, present, aware, and ready to breathe beside you.
What's your word for 2016?
Erin Michelle Threlfall
Theatre Artist, Activist, and Educator, Erin is the mother of a budding genius in his 9th year of study. Erin and her little man, Edem, have a plan to investigate world theatre and influence education one continent at a time. Ghana, South Korea, Togo and Bali have been checked off the list of places to live; these days they call Brooklyn, NY home.