In all ways big and small, I’m noticing the dynamic duo of willingness and curiosity as key hallmarks for a life that thrives. Evidence is plastered all over my work experiences. When a new patient arrives full of questions with an eagerness to co-create…this is such a predictor of favorable outcome. When students show up on the dance floor, stay the course, remain inclined to engage, move beyond the habitual…these are the same folks who drop in deeply for a transformative chunk of time. I witness yoga practitioners ready to dive in at the appointed hour inquisitive enough to make the practice their own: modifying poses, taking rest when needed, asking for clarification.
But most of all, I notice these qualities in myself. In their absence, there is dull grey descending fog. There is exhaustion, boredom, listlessness. And if I can summon the energy to kick myself in my own pants, I eventually ask: where is the willingness? Willingness to show up and stay present and track what is emerging. Willingness to harvest what is arising and allow myself to be nourished by it. Willingness to shape shift, to be transformed.
In these same sluggish moments I ask: where is the curiosity? Curiosity about possibility, the process itself and the particulars. Curiosity about what remains to be explored in this short span upon earth. Curiosity about what hibernates in the veiled den of the mystery. Because in my experience there is always something. So far the well has yet to run dry.
Lately my own willingness and curiosity have delivered me back around to prayer, which is always in the mix, given that most Sundays I attend Sweat Your Prayers. But sometimes this boundless topic comes front and center, as it is now. On some level, conscious or not, we genetically know about devotion. Every single one of us comes from a common human lineage in which prayer is inherent, genetic, woven into the fabric of living in close connection with earth. And because now a days it’s entirely possible to exist for days in a state of forgetfulness about this close connection, we can easily lose touch with this ancestral whisper. A whisper about the presence of spirit, a whisper that points to something greater than our small selves.
Last night I saw the full moon rise in the east over a wooded hilltop and this morning I saw the sun emerge just a bit south of that same spot. These ever present planets moving further apart in the vastness of the sky as winter solstice approaches. I felt the breath moving through me, an ever-present vehicle for prayer. The inhale filling me with the vibrancy of life force, ready-made energy, harvest-able for prayer. On the exhale I floated prayer in the form of hope out into the universe. My body simply serving as a channel for this conversion.
As a way of tapping into those ancestral whispers, nourishing and harvesting what is already present, I’ve been playing with how we become an embodied channel for prayer. No surprise. Ways to attune the body for prayer. Receiving and sending breath of prayer, pranayama and prayer. Shapes and mudras of prayer. Repetitions of prayer. Prayers for self, other, all beings, the earth, the universe. Prayers with no object. Letting go of need for particular outcome of prayer.
These are challenging times. The drive I had toward grass roots activism in my youth feels difficult to access. Holding space so that each of us can feel all that is present…well, some days this contribution feels like just not enough. So maybe this is why prayer is front and center. Maybe prayer creates the shine of hope from the dregs of desperation. Who knows? But I do know this: when there is willingness and curiosity, we can be prepared to be astonished.
And I am so willing to keep showing up, ever curious about what we can create together and utterly satisfied to be astonished with you.