“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” ~ Nietzsche
The morning we set off to shoot this video, a violent thunderstorm was raging outside.
Torrential rain hit the pavement, filling the gullies within minutes and preventing us from filming at the lakeside. We scrambled to find shelter and uncovered a seedy tunnel with cement walls splashed with an anarchy of graffiti.
All of a sudden it made sense. Serendipity was at play. It couldn’t have gone down any better, because today we were shooting…Moving Through Chaos.
The ground beneath me shook as the roar of thunder echoed through the tunnel. A massive crackle of lightning slashed through the blackness, illuminating the sky for a brief second before returning to darkness. As I stepped onto my yoga mat, I could feel the storm’s energy surging through my veins; my heart was racing faster than usual. I stepped off my mat to compose as if that would stop the downpour.
Inside me were two conflicting emotions: fear and exhilaration.
I felt a sudden need to take refuge in some faraway haven—and even more, I felt an addictive attraction to an overwhelming adrenaline high. Should I stay or should I run for cover? There was a choice.
As I returned to my mat and planted my feet firmly on the ground, I reminded myself that storms, near and far, are brewing at every moment, and that I have the choice to engage or disengage. The chaos is one thing, the way I respond to it is another. The four corners of my yoga mat become my mirror, reflecting the raging storms and my inner tantrums attempting to brush off the discomfort.
I experience my insecurities and imperfections as the asanas challenge my psyche. The more provocative the asana sequence, the more I feel provoked and, bizarrely enough, the more juice there is to observe and apply to my growth.
When I lose my balance in tree pose, I watch what happens. I see my deflated ego battling to save face by ridiculously blaming my lack of sleep or my morphology, and sometimes even the posture itself. This reactive choice isn’t helpful at all. It would be more self-serving to observe my tendencies and then choose a different path, like a slow, intentional inhale on a count of five and a long deep exhale on a count of eight. I could consciously slow way, way down and focus on the micro-movements and then fill the space that I am with more breath and more being-ness. I could draw my awareness into the totality of my body and tap into an inner strength of confidence as I breathe into the words, I am.
This path shifts the energy of being a victim into that of an empowering warrior who accepts what is. Each yoga posture then becomes just a pretext or a metaphor for something greater, something larger, something that could potentially transform my existence if I choose to see beyond the stretch.
My intention for this video is that you see the chaos that is there, the messy graffiti, the seedy tunnel, the irregularity of the cemented pavement, each asana and its physical, mental and emotional challenges. My wish for you is that you experience firsthand your predictable knee-jerk reactivity of resistance and then stop long enough to hold space for it to speak and trust that the storm, and even your reactivity, contains soul wisdom.
I invite you to receive this offering and to know that a different approach awaits you. I want you to see that as you step onto your mat, it can show you how you show up in the face of chaos. You can seize this opportunity to observe, without judgement, and lean in a lot more than you have. You can let the practice teach you about your defense mechanisms, the ways in which you intensify the already intense, or your unsuccessful attempts to seek shelter.
I would like you to experience what happens when you fall out of balance, notice what you habitually do and your self-sabotaging inner dialogue and ask why? I challenge you to invite chaos into your realm and feel its pulsing energy without the fear. Let its vibrancy enliven you, awaken you from the deadened slumber of numbness where you were once void of feeling, sensing, experiencing and caring.
Venture into the storm without bypassing it. Step into its whirlwind current of utter loss of control. Feel all of it and let it draw you into its heart, the eye of the storm that holds a hidden treasure. As you weather the storms of chaos you muscle your inner strength. Don’t bypass any of it, because in doing so you undermine your ability to handle what life has handed you. Trust me: you are much stronger than you think.
I once heard that there is an insanely ridiculous number of asanas: 8,400,000. Maybe there are 8,400,000 opportunities in a lifetime to observe, listen, learn and grow. From the listening, we become wiser, stronger and more vulnerable. Your vulnerability is your new courage, and your courage comes from stepping into your fear. Let these outbursts be your soul-enhancing catalyst for your transformation.
Reinforce your strength by choosing to live at least once a day outside of your cosy comfort zone. Use moment-to-moment life experiences to test your endurance and when the confidence is there add more. When it becomes too much, know that you can always take refuge in your center of serenity.
Take a step into the outburst, and let it be your portal to self-empowerment and the key to awakening the undeniable quiet strength of your peaceful warrior within.
Video directed by Christian L’Eplattenier
Music : Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Chromatics
Author: Jessica Magnin
Image: Author’s Own (credit: Lucia Bauman)
Editor: Toby Israel