January 4, 2010

On the Edge of the Unknown

This evening I took a yoga class at Piedmont Yoga Studio, located conveniently a street away from my apartment, with instructor Vickie Russell Bell. Vickie has such a wonderful way about her - strong, clear, funny and grounding. During her class I feel stronger as we progress through poses and find a relaxing bliss in savasana pose.

Throughout the practice she had us reflect on 2009 by asking us to consider four questions.
1) What surprised you in 2009?
2) What went well?
3) What didn't go well?
4) What did you learn?
Contemplating these questions throughout the practice was a powerful way to close-out the year. To conclude the class Vickie read us an excerpt from a Joseph Campbell writing. I've always thought he was New-Agey-Flaky but I don't think I've ever previously heard his work. I wish that I could recall the book she read from so that I could access the exact quote but it went something like this...

Being on the edge of darkness in the forest, we do not know the path. If there is a path we take, it is someone else's path we follow and not our own. To be truly inspired you must take your own path.

This reminded me of one of my favorite poems, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

For the past couple of years I've been taking my own path, without any road map or instruction. It is very scary at times and that makes sense, this path has never been forged before, at least by me. I have to assess the markers and determine if each step I take is safe. Often they are not, but being strong and brave, I find my way. Sometimes it feels like I'm pushing way past my comfort zone and dip into panic. Yoga and meditation are allowing me to find that calm that is often so fleeting.