lessons learned: tickling the roots

Ok, Holy Spirit, once again you amaze me.

I’m not sure if I’ve shared on this blog that I’ve resumed my yoga practice.  This time, it has been less about perfecting my form and more about getting into the corners of my body and releasing some darkness.  I am learning that breath, body and prayer together can be a powerful source of healing and enlightenment.

What started as a practice to alleviate lower back tension has slowly evolved into an intentional morning and evening ritual.  I have been listening to podcasts and reading books, and everyone seems to say the same thing–our bodies hold memories, both challenging and joyful.  Even at a cellular level, yoga and mindfulness can release some of that pain or struggle and help to lighten the load that we experience physically and emotionally.

Yesterday as I met with my spiritual director (SD), I shared with her the “root bound” metaphor my counselor had offered a few weeks before.  My SD continued to expand the theme by noting the physical appearance of a root bound plant–the tight, curved, and knotted body, tense and unable to let go of the dirt.

I shared with her a memory I had about a father who assisted me in landscaping a flower garden for my first preschool classroom many years ago.  He brought with him donated plants and of course, when we took them out of the pots, you could barely see any of soil.  I myself felt hopeless, but he squatted down with the kids and taught them to tickle the roots.

Yep, that’s what I said–tickle the roots.

He taught my students that the plants wouldn’t be able to grow if we didn’t help them release their roots.  Helping the roots let go would allow them to dig deeply into the soil.  So 15 preschoolers gathered round and tickled roots.

That year our garden flourished with enough flowers to send home with mothers for Mother’s Day.

As I reflected on this story, my SD smiled.  She looked at me and noted, “It’s kind of like your root bound spirit and body.  Your yoga is tickling the roots.”

And she was right. [Can you feel the Holy Spirit moving here?!]

Yoga and stretching are tickling places inside of me that are allowing me to flourish spiritually.  Releasing the darkness in my past and present have opened me to up feeling more compassionate and peaceful.

And most importantly, it’s freed me to up become more deeply rooted in my faith.

 

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