I have been so excited to share this week’s quote during each of my yoga classes (you can watch those replays here!)
This bit of poetry totally resonates with me – I wonder if you feel the same way! Let me know in the comments below.😊
Each time I have shared this quote recently I have entered into a daydream about immediately throwing a bunch of beach gear into the car and hurrying to the shore. Summer is in full swing and I haven’t made it to the beach yet! I am craving the feeling of sun on my skin, sand between my toes and – of course – some rejuvenating beach yoga! Here’s to hoping I make it there soon.
The poem has prompted lots of deeper contemplation for me, though. The speaker addresses the reader directly and I can’t help but feel… well… seen. 🙈
Mary Oliver’s poem offers the juxtaposition of a benevolent being with that of a wicked and devastating force. These two parts form a single whole – embodied together in the entirety of the ocean.
The invitation is to examine this juxtaposition within ourselves and then to integrate that sense of wholeness. (Even if it feels tricky or uncomfortable.)
No one escapes the observation of the narrator; the sea behaves and misbehaves “As I can too, and so, no doubt, can you, and you.” That last part leaves no escape for anyone in the reading audience: if you skirted by the first direct address, then surely you can’t avoid the second. By owning the full spectrum of destruction and healing that lives inside of themselves, the narrator makes it okay for us to recognize and own it inside of ourselves, too. We’re all in it together. We make up an ocean of humanity that ebbs, storms, gently undulates and thrashes for the sake of thrashing, sometimes. We’re just as beautiful and severe as the sea.
The ocean can be cruel and fierce, but that doesn’t make you any less excited for a trip to the beach, does it? The ocean is also soothing, cleansing and lots of fun, too! As with anything in life, we have to take the good with the bad.
Learn to love yourself – all of yourself – as you love the ocean. With admiration, delight and awe. Embrace all of your strength and power, while tenderly nourishing the shorelines of your life. 🌊
This equanimity is a part of the process of yoga. It’s the work of threading a peaceful connection between all aspects of mind, body and spirit – with yourself and with everyone else.
I encourage you to practice yoga with me. I can help you along this path of integration and connection – we will ride the waves together!
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