Though I would not have performed all these ceremonies on any ONE person and certainly not all in one week, I did perform them one right after another on myself. Each day I performed it on myself...the next couple of days someone would come along who needed that exact ceremony.
And so I proceeded, allowing the energy to increase and all the while watching with an observing mind.
As my ceremonies transitioned, so did my yoga practice. At times I had the insatiable need to run and at times the energy ran through the night, I would awaken with the thought "I am dying" and I would assure myself..."it's ok, you agreed to it."
I continued to reaffirm that I was willing to let all patterns and belief systems that were blocking me to genuine connection and guidance from the highest source to die away from me. I wasn't sure where my practice was going but I was determined to change...I kept moving and my backbends were deeper, my lunges stronger, my practice seemed never ending...continuously I was drawn back to my mat.
One fine day, just before performing The Moon, I received a message of pain that rang through my back like a bolt of lightening...slow down...it said. It was so powerful a lesson that I had no choice but to listen immediately. I dropped to my knees and asked to put my awareness on the place of my greatest pain. When I did, I realized that I had actually been moving so fast and letting go of so much that I was not in healing mode...I was in a healing crisis.
It was at this moment that I decided to video tape myself doing yoga. Viewing myself as a student and now taking the teacher role, I saw that my feet and hands were not activated on the mat, my hips were out of alignment, my right leg shorter than my left, my right shoulder was twisting forward, I was lifting my hip into side bends, and, yes, voice in my head...I was not breathing my spine slowly to its full extent, I was using my muscle and power to create change. Somehow I had moved from co-creator to creator and I was not allowing myself to be guided to the greatest places of healing by the breath of life that knows me more intimately than my mind ever could. Thank goodness for the divine reflection, a mirror to me of what was happening inside reflected on the outside on video.
I performed The Moon directly after this and was rewarded with a deep stillness and peace that pervaded my every cell. It came to me in the night like sparkle dust on my chest and ignited love memories of all the moments for which I am grateful. They floated through me and returned me to my breath. The thoughts and voices that had been driving me for weeks to push harder, faster now encouraged me to lay still and just breathe.
I started over again, the same way I started doing yoga 10 years ago after my accident. I focused on my feet. I spread my toes and felt into my hastabhanda, RE-membering what it symbolizes I breathed my awareness into the center of my joined feet and said, "I choose to live a life in right relation to the Earth. Please, guide my feet." I stepped one step and took a deep breath through my pain. I came down to my knees and bowed down saying, "I give myself over to the divine consciousness and allow myself to be moved to the greatest place of my healing." I came up onto my hands and knees and breathed into my hands and said, "I give my hands over to you for the healing of others. Please teach me how to give and receive in balance." I sat with my legs extended in front of me and focused on my heels. I felt the right leg lengthen and I breathed into my right side. "Please, help me to balance the male and female within myself. I forgive all relationships and take responsibility for the way they have turned out. I allow myself now to be guided to understand what right relation is." I took a seated side bend and opened my chest, now attentive to my sits bones instead of depth, I felt my torso lengthen and lift out of my hip. "Surrendering myself to the medicine of my heart." And I felt the throbbing of my uterus...and breathed healing energy into my own sacred space.
Twice a day I did 6 postures. It took me 2 hours.
In the meantime, my life unfolded in visions of the El Paso landscapes, the place of my birth, I started painting, teaching yoga as slowly as I performed it, doing healing work, aware of my feet and letting go of my muscles so the energy flowed through me, not to me and, finally, the week ended at the gravesites of my grandparents...all of them...5 generations back...and I let go of dreams associated with paradigms I do not believe in from my core.
As my body came back into alignment, my heart came back to the center. From the center of my core I felt the medicine of my heart and know that though I am not my grandmother and will not live in a kitchen passing salt, there are other ways of giving in little ways that all day long say "I love you." Though I am not everyday walking the small steps with my grandmother to the bathroom, I do know that I get to through my aunts and uncles who are serving their mother in the same ways she served them. I am also not the same woman, who I love and admire for her strength, who gave 50 years to a man who came and went when he pleased had other children with other women and left her to care for 7.
I see the trials and tribulations of the women of my family who gave their power over life and their sacred space to men who didn't appreciate or love them until they were gone. My grandfather who kept my grandmother's memory alive 20 years after she passed, never loved and appreciated her so much as when she was gone. I honor the women of my lineage for their strength and I add my freedom from religious doctrines that bound them to situations they would not leave. I honor the women of my lineage for the forgiving hearts, and add to it the example of my father, who has never strayed, who has loved my mother since they were in high school, and who everyday teaches me what a man of honor is.
To be sure, I do not know where my practice of the last two weeks will lead me, but I am grateful that it has returned me to center and aligned me with my path as a medicine woman., who sits in the strength of her sacred space, holds ceremony, and realizes the power she receives is from the Earth, and even the Mother Earth knows she needs the sun to give life, and life, it is a gift to us from the dead, and they watch over us in the stillness of dreams uttered by children yet unborn but remembering us as their grandmother who stood for the medicine that we pass forward.
I am grateful to yoga, for the union of my mind-heart with my body. Thank you for the connection of the present with the past and future. May I ever acknowledge all the stories that created me and slowly learn to unwind the wounds of the past so I can soar into the unknown blessed future.