A Look Back

It would seem - that the first month of this new year is a good time to take a look back before taking that one giant step forward. A good time to find that place and space called 'center'.

And so..and to that – as the words of the sages pass thru us….as was once shared with me..I now share. As I was taught..I teach. I – too – was once a beginner. And – I too once questioned this thing called 'practice'. What does it mean? How does one 'do' it? How is it possible - to simply 'practice' without any clear and defined purpose..without an end or goal?

There is no prize at the end of the pose. The prize – is right in the here and the now. Simply show up. Simply breathe. Simply practice. The answers are forthcoming…they will come from within.

It’s been years since I first arrived on my mat. Without knowing why or what – I was seeking. I can’t recall what it was exactly that I was searching for…but that I’m quite certain I was searching. Perhaps – it was for a new way of looking and really seeing..of listening and actually hearing..of experiencing this world…of being. Perhaps I was looking for the same answers as everyone else..only to find – there are none.

And yet – I return. Day after day..again and again. I return and begin again. This practice.

At this point – my practice is no longer confined to my 2′ x 6′ mat. Its reach is far beyond….much greater and deeper than the bounds of that. The path I’d been walking for so many years..is a different one. I’m no longer in that big hurry or rush to get to wherever it is I thought I should be going. The destination no longer calls me. The journey does.

I record what is..as I see it – thru my camera’s lens. The practice of photography focuses and grounds me. It forces me to pay the closest attention to detail. To shadow and light. To composition. To figure and ground. To balance. It acts as a quiet meditation. When looking thru my camera’s lens..the world stops. There is calm centered peace within. With my feet on the ground..and my eye to the camera’s lens – I see all…and only what it is that I am looking at. Drishti. There is only me. The sound of my breath…my heart beating…an internal quiet where there is nothing other than this. I let go of the controlling..the contriving..the manipulation. There is no such thing as ‘perfect’..there is only what ‘is’.

Just as I practice the art of yoga on my mat..I practice the yoga of art in the world. With my camera-in-hand..I enter a quiet place of surrender and acceptance. This moment will never happen in quite the same way ever again. It is what it is. I look. I feel. I see. I extend the internal physical sensations in my body..to the external visual world that surrounds me. I practice because it is within that practice that I can quietly see. I can observe the changes as I grow. I return and begin again and again – each and every time anew.

I drop my head. I soften. I come out of my perserverating mind and into the peace and quiet and internal strength of my body. I learn to trust in myself..in my voice..in my vision.

When asked about this thing that I ‘do’? This thing called practice? When asked what and why and where and when?
I always pause before I attempt to answer. It’s complicated..and yet – there’s nothing more simple.
I practice because – for me – practice is breath..and breath is life. How can I possibly live without breathing?!?!?

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Cross-posted at Where Spirited Women Gather. - where a group of like-minded women share.