October 12, 2013

A Tattoo of Faith. ~ Troy Hadeed

As yoga instructors and practitioners, we often find ourselves speaking about living in the present, having faith, and manifesting our own reality as we step into our power as children of God.

The thing is, as we step off our mat and into the real world, it can sometimes take nothing more than a pin dropping before we forget it all. I often say to my students that I feel so graceful when on my mat, but when I step into the real world, I become a chaotic mess.

To be honest, my life hasn’t brought me any real trauma or challenges—I feel very blessed this time around. A few months ago, however, I was definitely going through a challenging time. I questioned  my life within corporate society, as well as the time spent when I was not on my yoga mat or my surfboard.

There were family tensions, loved ones overcome with worry and stress, and a break up with my girlfriend of three years.

One Friday, in particular, had shaped up to be what I can only refer to as a f*#^ the world  kind of day. (Yes, yoga instructors have those, too.) So, that afternoon I retreated to a secluded beach for a sunset dip and some relaxation—or as I might say in Trinidad, “to get wet and rock back.” As it turned out, God had a little more in store.

After getting wet and soaking up the ocean vibes, I noticed a distant lifeguard booth that was empty. “What a beautiful place to practice,” I thought.

So there I was with my mat on the floor of this lifeguard booth. Krishna Das was playing on my wireless speaker, and I had no worries in the world. As the horizon was beginning to turn shades of orange and purple, I could feel it. Mind, body, breath, and spirit; there was yoga.

Approaching the top of my inhale in Upward Facing Dog, I could not help but notice the little girl standing in front of me. She stood about three feet tall, and she could not have been more than three years old. I took note of her blue eyes and her innocent smile as she began to slowly circle the 12’x12’ lifeguard booth in silent wonder. She circled me a few times, observing every movement and listening to every breath I made.

Eventually the girl sat in the corner of the lifeguard booth, not more than four feet away from the top of the mat. Her eyes were lit with love, and she wore a smile that said there was nowhere else in the world she’d rather be.

I continued to practice as usual, making gentle attempts to get her to come join me on my mat. A few sun salutations later, a woman I assumed to be the girl’s mother walked up and said something to the angel in French. Soon enough, they were both sitting in the corner of the lifeguard booth, blending in with the moment. But, this time it was different. With the comfort of her mother, the little girl was ready to take the step. They both slid themselves along the raw wood of the floor and onto my mat.

There we were, seated in lotus, completely still.

God was there; we were one.

It could not have been much more than a few minutes before my eyes were opened by the sound of what I can only imagine was  French for, “I am sorry, dear, but we must go now.” As they slowly got up and waved goodbye, I noticed the angel’s smile had not changed. Her eyes knew something I didn’t.

Still in awe and a little overwhelmed by what I was feeling, I got back into my vinyasa practice. One, two, three breaths.  As I looked through my legs as I held Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), I saw them walking down the stairs to the beach, hand in hand. When their feet touched the sand, the little girl stopped and pulled her hand from her mother’s. She turned around to make her way back up the stairs and into the lifeguard booth.

I held my Downward Facing Dog as the little girl vanished behind the pillars of the booth. Then there she was, standing at my side, practically on my mat. Two little feet that I imagined must have had a little pair of wings to match. She gently leaned over and placed the most delicate of all kisses on my left rib cage before heading back to her mother in the sand.

We can call this experience anything we like. But that afternoon, an angel of God kissed me with infinite grace and eyes that saw everything I did not. She was pure, innocent, and strong to have carried such a powerful message all this way. She only stood three feet tall, but came to remind me of what it really means to have faith and to trust God. She came to deliver a message that God had my back.

I was being called and this was part of my work.

Maybe the next time we feel that things aren’t going our way, we can remember that the universe will always bring us what we need to grow into the fullest version of ourselves.

Sometimes it means doing the work on ourselves that we are trying to avoid. God will always bring us what you ask of Him, but sometimes it comes in a form that we may not recognize. We can hold our heads high and choose love, even in the darkest of times. That way we can be sure to see the opportunities and the magic of the transformation ahead.

I was touched by this little girl so much.

I decided to put this experience into ink so I would never forget what it means to know God and to have faith. I can only hope that maybe one day she’ll find her way onto a yoga mat so I can return the favor.

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Assistant Ed: Kerrie Shebiel/ Ed: Bryonie Wise


Bio Photo Courtesy of Lori Borde

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