YOU ARE HERE
What is the first thing you do when you get in your car to travel to a place you have never been before? If you’re still using a paper map, you locate where you are. If you have a GPS, you acknowledge your current location and plug in your destination.
When you arrive at a mall the size of a city, you locate a map of the stores. Usually it is well lit and too big to miss, situated right smack in the middle of every midway. Finding it, you look for the big red star that denotes ‘YOU ARE HERE’.
Life is exactly like this; it is important to start from where you are. In my early twenties, I begin to recognize where I am. And I am usually somewhere between disaster and breakdown, between failure and collapse. However, there was enough of me that survived my unfortunate childhood to appear ‘normal’. I am a master at fitting in. Pretending my greatest asset.
Through it all, my compassionate heart stays connected to Spirit. I develop reference points. In elementary school, the reference point was bed-wetting and kidney infections that earned me a reprieve to the hospital for one week. In high school it was athletics, providing me with enough success to salvage a diminished spirit. In college, it was an elective Yoga course that caused me to pause, to breathe and to wonder about the things that did not make sense.
I left college after two years and returned to the home where I experienced sexual trauma until I was twelve. I realized pretending didn’t work as well as it used to.
The energetic patterns of dysfunctional thought developed in my earliest years. They are engrained into my neuropathways like a river through a canyon. They influence my thought processes, my decision-making and my actions. After surviving cancer and divorce from a meaningful and influential relationship I realized I had to change those patterns. I began the arduous task of changing but not without more adversity.
Contemplating the reference points, I realize the subtle transition from ‘reference’ point to ‘waking’ point. Waking is where I find myself today. The task at hand was the integration of all experience, which moved me in the direction of wholeness. I’d find pockets of fun, laughter and fulfillment and continued to chip away at old beliefs, replacing them with life affirming ones. From this waking point – the NEW starting place – I sensed a different horizon. I began to follow my heart; the heart that stayed connected through it all.
Every action born from a desire to manifest Love in my life led me to teaching yoga. Every practice offers presence and peace. The very act of conscious breathing – I am breathing in. I am breathing out. – settles the nervous system. Science is catching up with these ancient practices too, providing tangible data for those who require it before they jump in!
Yoga initially appears as fixed or moving postures. However, a closer look reveals the depth and breadth of this time-honored wisdom. My practice and my class calls into presence the connection of mind, body and spirit. Most importantly, I ask that we begin with where we are. And as an experiment, I ask that we observe the content of our thoughts, to do our best and to proceed without judgment.
Where am I right now? What is available to me in this moment? What is ALIVE in me? There are times when these questions draw me into the past and ask me to work on resolving and letting go. Alternately, fear and courage drive my vision of the future.
A yogic lifestyle provides me with reference points and waking points. Whether it is past or future, the actions I choose in the present moment are what carve out my life. And with unwavering reliability, I return to the red star on the map saying:
YOU ARE HERE
Liz Jordon is a Certified Yoga Teacher in the Sivananda tradition and Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga through the Chopra Center in California. She is currently studying with Richard Miller and her passion is to share the *Yoga Nidra philosophy and practice in her classes. Richard’s teachings are used in Corporations and government agencies all over the country. Liz is available to partner with and assist corporations and individuals with this practice to enhance life balance, health and productivity. Today, Liz lives in a one-room schoolhouse in Mertztown, PA. She is a proud mother of two children and enjoys every second spent with her two grandchildren and adopted family. She shares her “Yoga with Liz” classes in Emmaus, PA.
*Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing.
You may also be interested in these other “From the Heart” articles: