Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. -Martha Graham
I'm staying in my parents' house for now, slowly clearing away nearly fifty years of....stuff. Fred and Clara are alive and thriving at the Hualalai Regency with their Lovebird named Happy, their meals and housekeeping handled just to their liking. A fourth floor ocean view, a short drive to the bowling alley and a swimming pool for Fred's exercises complement the cruise. I tell all this, because people usually end up cleaning out their parents' home after a death or incapacity and miss the chance of a pleasant transition. One of my brothers likened it to watching kids go off to college.
For several years now, I imagined that my folks and I would one day live on a little farm. They would have one house, I would live in another, and there would be a yoga barn in the center where I would teach or practice yoga. Although in reality they chose to be near sea-level, instead of up in the farm zone, they are as happy as I had pictured them to be. I'd always planned to help them move out of the old house, so that part of my vision is still in tact. Every few weeks, I fly to California to spend time with #78, so I am as happy as I pictured myself to be, even more than I could have imagined.
But now that I no longer have the luxury of my own yoga studio and the discipline that my teaching schedule provided, I'm left to create and find my own place and time to practice. There is no yoga barn at the old homestead, so I keep my yoga mat spread out in front of the TV that I've unplugged (it turned on by itself several times - another story) with no more than twelve inches of clearance surrounding it. For now, it's the only space I can spare. The carpeted floor makes me wobble and I tell myself that it's good for my balance. I find no semblance of my old routine when I step on the mat and my Grumpy Girl complains.
A few days ago when I read,"Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired", I saw my choices. All of the years spent leading my body into and out of the postures while focusing on the feeling of Joy, has taken effect. My teacher said to inhale the feeling of joy and exhale a sense of peace and contentment. I practiced doing that daily, week after week, year after year. I taught the same thing, over and over. One day, it happened. Like feeling as though you're spinning around even after you've stopped spinning, it's become a response - I feel Joy when I inhale.
No one yoga posture did that. No single mindblowing-weeklong-workshop awakened the Joy within me. My teacher inspired a vision, I had faith and practiced, over and over again - breathe in joy, breathe out peace. Once I could honestly feel those emotions, it became my desire and the focus of my practice, and then my life. As I remember all that, I've decided that I don't need to look for the perfect practice or the perfect place to practice. I want to practice feeling Joy and be open to all of its incarnations no matter what I'm doing and where I am.
I once saw myself living happily-ever-after on a little farm and now I'm living happily-ever-after as I move from house to house, state to state. I'm going to keep exploring the Mother Sequence and all its variations for the rest of my life, I'm certain. Whether I take my body through it for an hour, 6 minutes, or just mentally as I fly across the Pacific, I'll invite perfect Joy. That is my perfect practice.
What perfect desire are you inviting in everytime you practice?
Photo: Wooden Buddha from Kona Yoga