My college experience granted me the opportunity to earn two degrees, one in Education, and the other in English. My intense study of literature is truly where I developed a real connection to the self, and all of the opportunities that come with an open mind and critical thinking skills. Perhaps some of my favorite, and most pivotal work, came along as a result of a 400 level Master Author course, studying the writings of both Jane Austen and Louise Erdrich. Erdrich, a present-day master of story-telling, usually crafts stories which highlight a cause and effect trickle from a multi-generational perspective; traditionally, Erdrich’s stories are inspired by her Native American roots. One story, stood out from all the rest, highlighting instead, her father’s German ancestry. Master Butchers Singing Club is where I first heard the German word ‘zwischenraum’. As the story explains, the term, indirectly translates to a concept, rather than a single word...and this fascinated me. Zwischenraum means ‘the space between’. Did your mind jump immediately to a Dave Matthews song….because mine did!
Now, don’t worry, this IS connected to yoga, I promise! Zwischenraum became the inspiration behind my entire paper, and would go on to reveal itself in a variety of ways in my personal life. ‘The space between’ is what connects our past to our future, it is the Present. Within this space, there is physical space, mental space, emotional space...the list goes on and on. And what I realized was that constantly, throughout every second of every day, we are manipulating our space. We are designing it, initiating boundaries, making decisions about our space that affects our future self and all of our relationships.
Yoga is quite literally, the practice of manipulation. Using the asanas, we manipulate our bodies into poses, each with their own benefits, with pranayama, we manipulate the breath, recognizing that it is the most powerful part of our practice, with meditation, we manipulate our minds with the goal of working towards clarity and peace. In yoga, we create space. The space between who we were, (what happened to us that both was out of our control and the decisions we made) and who we will be, is the Present. Accepting the story of our life (our past) is what enables us to actively shape our current space, to recognize our ability to choose what enters that space and how it will affect our future selves.
Putting all of this motivational talk aside for a second, let’s look at where the difficulties exist. Although it does sound romantic, this idea that we manipulate our space does not mean that we have complete control over our life or it’s outcomes. This is where Faith comes in. Faith, in a completely non denominational way, is the absence of fear. Faith is the decision to believe that you will find yourself where you need to be. Faith is acceptance of your former story. Faith is trust that you have every ability that you need to fulfill your life’s potential. Faith is the ability to practice non attachment to the outcomes we seek because of natural human desire.
Faith is a practice, and it is not easy. Faith is a decision...an active decision that requires constant work and effort. But faith, brings peace to our present moment. The relationship between loving ourselves and accepting our stories, and living a life rooted in peace, depends upon how we craft our space. Do you craft your space with an emphasis on faith?
Think about all of the variations of space that you hold for others, the physical space within your home, the space of the head and of the heart. What is it that you allow in? What is it that you most hope to manifest within your life...and what changes can you make to your space to accommodate those desires?
As you continue your practice in space and faith, I invite you, to join me for a practice on the mat. My wish for you in this present space, is that you are filled with loving kindness, that you are safe, from inner and outer danger, healthy of body and mind and that you find peace and are truly happy.
See you on the mat,