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From Grand Implosion to Bird of Paradise

March 17, 2013

I am solitary and still in my life today but I cannot say that I am totally fulfilled. However I can say that I am Grateful and Humble. Restless. Ready to spread my wings and fly. (Me, 2013)

As many of us learn on this amazing journey, life does not always proceed according to plan. What matters more than the hardships we face is whether or not we learn from them and allow ourselves to grow. When we find ourselves faced with an unfamiliar landscape, we must take time to breathe and reclaim our balance. The past several years have been exactly that for me; pausing and reflecting in the space between. It is a space for healing and understanding and quiet reflection. It is a space where anything is possible and new dreams are born.

Life transitions and unanticipated outcomes present ideal opportunities for self exploration and growth. We may encounter parts of the self that were previously buried or not yet discovered. When I reflect back on my younger self, I remember how spontaneous I used to be. Last minute plans and unanticipated adventures were the things that inspired me and brought me to life. But then, somewhere along the way, I grew up. My quest for excitement and intrigue gave way to stillness and balance and practical endeavors. And I suppose my life became more complicated as well. These days I find myself missing that carefree young woman; free and unencumbered like a bird in flight.

As I moved through my thirties and into my fourth decade of life, the stakes were higher and there was less time to waste. I grew to understand better my deepest needs and my urgency to fulfill them and I felt a new kind of pressure that I never knew before. Next came external resistance and a series of rude awakenings culminating in what I now refer to as the grand implosion. When my life veered off course several years ago and my most treasured hopes and dreams rapidly faded from view, my first impulse was to run away and reinvent myself and my life. But I did not run. Instead I remained still and fortified my roots. I dug my heels in deep and committed myself to finding my own special brand of ordinary. I found it through every day simple things like grocery shopping or working outside in my garden. And in doing so, I transcended the grand implosion and I found my way over to the space between.

Memories of my former life now rest inside dresser drawers, storage bins and cardboard cartons. Crinkled photographs and tear stained pages tell the story of a naive young woman who soared high and free until she flew straight into a spider’s web where everything fell stagnant and nothing blossomed or grew. Then there was the grand implosion and finally, the space between. A space where glimmers of promise for a better life and future were found drifting through open windows, hiding inside empty rooms and dancing across golden beams of sunlight. A blank slate. A fresh, clean canvas. A chance to find fulfillment through solitude and stillness.

I recently attended my very first heated vinyasa yoga class, and there was one particularly challenging pose called the bird of paradise. It basically involves standing on one leg while the rest of the body is twisted up like a pretzel. It was a pose that I sensed I could probably master, with a little bit of a struggle and pushing against my outer limits. I can do this; I told myself as I inched my way gradually, one breath at a time, into the pose. When I finally got there, panting and drenched in perspiration, the others in the class started to applaud. It was a beautiful, life affirming moment that I will never forget. My form was far from perfect and there were plenty of people in the class who did it better than me. But it was real and it was mine and it was fantastically flawed.

I have often underestimated the limits of my own strength; the unbridled potential of my physical and emotional endurance. I am both humble and proud; vulnerable and strong. A fantastically flawed woman and a graceful bird of paradise. Through the grand implosion and into the space between; I shed my younger skin and discovered a new way to fly.

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