“The most profound change comes about if we frequently extend our sincere welcome to the world to be with us in our space. In that invitation, we learn that it is not the world that excludes us, but we who shut the world out.”
-“Shutting Out the World,” The Celtic Spirit, Caitlyn Matthews
Day 353 – Practice allows us to step out of our own way and let things happen. It feels almost magic when the shimmy fairy comes or you roll out of plow pose one delicious vertebrae at a time when before there was only fluster, sweat, and panting. Trying too hard is, well, trying too hard. On the flip side, there is an opportunity to also just check-out and completely isolate oneself from the world. In today’s reading in The Celtic Spirit, Matthews demonstrates how this happens, writing: “As we become increasingly urbanized and the population rises, people in cities cannot help but begin to exclude parts of the world around them out of sheer self-survival. We cannot meet and greet everyone in the street, nor would this be entirely desirable.”
Whether it is yoga practice or a walk in nature, as Matthews suggests, these small rituals reconnect ourselves with what is real and timeless. As Rolf reminds us: our souls “require faithful, day-in, day-out care.” Moreover, realizing all this requires, in Rolf’s words, going “from apprentice to journeyman in many areas of…life.” To make it more complicatedly simple practice seems to also require wisdom and maturity to address the things which need the practice, and not just go through the motions. As we begin to reconnect to what is real–the abilities and range of motion we once had–we encounter what we perceive as barriers to our practice. No amount of rigid practicing or total denial will make those barriers go away. We must adjust.
Rolf calls this adjustment “transition” and writes that he, too, like many of us–probably all of us–“have unconsciously resisted” crossing these barriers because they threaten our place in our world. The same resistance manifests itself excuses, blustering, complaining, and in anger; Rolf writes: “My fear attempts to walk the world disguised as anger.” Like Matthews, however, he concurs: “In the midst of my practice…the urge to do is replaced by the urge to wait and see.” A walk in Nature does much the same, in my opinion, allowing a “simple shift in attitude…[in order to] avoid innumerable mistakes and fiascos that would have surely landed…[us] back into the apprentice role again,” or, in Matthews’ view, disconnected and isolated from the world.