Worryless Irma


“The expert surfer sits still and lets the ocean being the ocean work to his advantage.”

-Day 34, Meditations on Intention andBeing, Rolf Gates

Day 276 – Rolf’s opening quote today gives rise to his preference to practice with pranayama prior to asana practice, and it bears repeating.  From Swami Chetanananda, Rolf quotes:  “Learning that we can trust the creative energy of Life itself enables us to relax more and more, because we know we don’t have to make things happen by force of our will.”  Certainly, this…this is the lesson learned in Irma.

I sit in the quiet of my bed, hooked up to the TENS unit, propped up by pillows along my oh-so-achy spine, hips, and shoulders.  This misery brought on by my unkindness to my body and mind throughout the process of hurricane prep and submission.  Never able to let go, I was in a constant spin of doing more, more, more, for the inevitable lack of ability to do anything but ride the wave as far as it took us.  I was not only fully stressed, but also unmindful of its resulting suffering.  Coupled with copious amounts of recognizable and legitimate worry and lack of sleep, I am in pain.

Using today and tomorrow, I hope to politely bring myself back into equilibrium.  I did a short, gentle session for upper back with abundant pranayama at the beginning and end.  I tried to let go into my body, but I am in some discomfort.  And although the practice did lessen this somewhat, I am taking extra measures through rest and continued pranayama.

Rolf suggests before asana that practicing pranayama, floating on” our breath, we can be reminded not “to be the doer.”  Thus, our daily practice cultivates the habit that keeps us from suffering.  Like Rolf, “I want to be the channel, I want to be the witness, I want to be grateful.  I don’t want to be the doer.”  Like a surfer, I want to place my board right where it needs to be, and let the ocean do its own thing.  I am also not only grateful for a million and one small things, like hot water, hot coffee, and air condition, but grateful for the return of two of our kitties who have been missing for days–one since August 21st!

Irma taught us much.  No way to prepare once you are prepared.  No way to do anything more than that.  Irma reminds me that I couldn’t be the doer, and in trying to be, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, my body said, “Arg!”  When Rolf suggests that we let go, he means in a way that our actions “become beneficial” to ourselves and others.  Irma was a reminder that all my actions should be beneficial to myself and others. Kindness and love matter in all forms.

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