This morning when I stepped out into the back garden, I heard the sound of clippers on the other side of the fence. It was my back garden neighbor of over 15 years. “Is that you?” I asked. “Yes,” was the reply and we both walked up onto our decks so we could see across the fences. “It must be summer,” my neighbor said, in acknowledgment of it being the first morning of the season we coincided in the garden. “I am so ready,” he said, and we caught up with the winter news and discussed what was going on in our gardens. I told him about Becky, marveling at her wonderful long life of 21 years. “It was time, then,” he commented. “I still miss her, though,” I replied.
Yesterday, several people said to me that they were not ready for summer. Whether people were ready (or not) for the 90 degree weather seemed to depend a lot a preference cold or warm weather.
It hardly matters whether we are ready for a shift in the seasons, the loss of a precious being, or the arrival of gray hairs and degenerative arthritis (I am finding myself not ready for any of these, really).
Life comes to us, ready or not. We can use our yoga practice, especially asana, to help us expand and shift and be prepared for whatever comes, by inviting all of our practice and our growth (which includes both expansion and contraction) a rich exploration. We can experiment with where is our edge, listening to both ourselves and our teachers to discover not only what we are ready for, but also how we react when confronted with that for which we think we are not ready. By seeking the subtle knowledge of when our mind is ahead of our body and when our mind is holding back our body, we can enhance our ability to respond to what comes in the most open, sensitive, discriminating, flexible, and thus, life-enhancing way, on and off the mat.
In the meantime, I give in to the premature summer heat. This morning, I picked spinach and herbs to go with mushrooms from the fresh farm market for breakfast and made a posy of pansies for the altar. Why leave them in the garden if they will just wilt in the heat? It was a great afternoon for a siesta and a treat to be out in the city in the morning unencumbered by sweater or jacket. For my evening practice, I will emphasize deep, cooling forward bends and pranayama. Will I be ready for the cool days to come back at the end of the week? I do not think I will have a choice.