Looking out the window this morning I noticed that we had the first snowfall of the season. What a magnificent picture with the brilliant glistening snow as a backdrop for the still golden aspens. Am I ready for this? It is only the beginning of October. It does not matter; nature does not care about our wants, needs or if we are ready for something and it does not matter anyway. It is the natural cycle. Already I can see the transformation taking place from the beautiful golden and warm red leaves into them turning brown, being blown off the branches by the next sure to come strong gusts of wind or falling off on their own, unable to hold on any longer; or the weight of the snow may push them to the ground. The moisture is helping with their decay. Beauty, decay, ugliness – there is no difference if we see the truth of it all. In the composting leaves I can see the new growth of brilliant green new leaves emerging next spring. In the snow I sense the moisture nourishing the roots of the trees to give new life when conditions are right.
Transitions are everywhere and they are the flow of life; transitions are the opportunity to start over, to realize that there is no beginning and no end; no real death as we were taught is ever possible. Speaking of the aspen leaves, yes, the leaf dies and decays but the essence of the leaf is eternal and it will reappear in the spring in its entire innate splendor.
Realizing this truth takes the fear out of our lives. It takes the hard grip away that we have on everything. We are conditioned to hold on, having the false belief that we have control. The moment we understand that all of it is an illusion we are free, liberated from pain, fear, suffering.
Gazing out the window during my yoga practice I watch the snowflakes falling gently, carried by gentle breezes. The snowflakes don’t say “Oh, please, I’d rather go this direction or that direction”, or, “can I stay up here please, it’s so beautiful”. No, they simply drift and accept their path as it is in that present moment. We as humans in contrary try to control everything and look where it got us. There are wars, starvation, hatred, murder everywhere. Yet, the happiest people are the ones who take the time to look at the truth, who live simply, who realize that all we have is this very moment and we better enjoy it before it’s gone. What are we so desperately trying to achieve? What are we trying to accumulate and hold on to? And why? We all come to that day in our lives where we have to leave it all behind and it will be very painful, unless we face that fact now. We need to learn NOW what is important. We need to learn NOW to let go. We need to learn NOW to love.
In my yoga practice I live these transitions mindfully at every moment. One pose flows into the next effortlessly; the transitions are what make the graceful movements possible. I have to die to the one pose in order to create the next. My breath weaves it all together beautifully. My yoga practice becomes a prayer that way; a prayer of appreciation for life itself.
Photo credit: Warrior II
Sophia S. Paul is a Naturopath, Reiki Master Teacher and a Certified Yoga Instructor with 30 years of experience. She is the author of “It’s not about putting your foot behind your ear – an inspiring story of transformation through Yoga”. Her book demonstrates how the simplicity of yoga and a holistic lifestyle can transform your life into one of peace, health and happiness. She deeply loves nature, and lives in the Colorado Mountains close to her children and grandchildren. Connect with Sophia on Facebook and view her book trailer here.