You guys, I recognize that it might appear that I am focused on a theme of face plants right now.
But this is totally different. TOTALLY DIFFERENT! This is the Wisdom of child’s pose. This is the child’s pose of Power. Of Self Actualization. Can you not see the Wisdom and Power and Self-Actualization?
It’s subtle. Look closer.
When I see a yoga student drop to child’s pose in the middle of one of my classes, I always think, “That’s one smart yogini right there.”
It’s interesting that to an untrained eye it might look like a face plant borne of despair or defeat – but actually, it’s the ultimate go-to-ground power play to restore oneself, one’s most essential self. Too often I wait until things get to a near-shattering point before taking child’s pose, my breath ragged, some deep unnamed interior muscle near strained. But the more I practice, the better I am getting at politely showing my ego the door and assuming child’s pose instead of down dog (or whatever the seemingly ambitious choice in life is) when I know I need rest more than productivity.
Right now I am feeling elated by this work in writing, excavating, analyzing and getting “out there.” But to tell you the God’s honest, I’m feeling pretty exhausted too. So I am taking a child’s pose of Power with this short entry this week. And it feels salient, not only because it’s what I need to regain a little quiet in my head and heart, but also because preservation is necessarily the fraternal twin of usefulness. There is no effective usefulness without self preservation. And without self kindness, without sometimes quite literally folding in half and pressing my face to my knees to make the world go soft and dark – I spin out of control.
I once took a wheel pottery class with these lovely, experienced older potters. Delighted with a new student, they were all too happy to show me how to work the wheel, applying steady pressure on the foot pedal to keep it spinning, while moistening the clay as it began to reveal itself. In my enthusiasm (and impatience) my foot got heavier, the wheel spun faster and the clay began to rock in an undulating asymmetrical orbit, its arc widening wildly and gaining a sickening momentum. I remember the room getting very quiet for a beat or two before the once-affable faces of those ladies turned to disapproval, then horror, as the clay finally flung itself around the room over all of us in a thousand small wet, cloying pieces. It never occurred to me to let my foot up off that pedal.
We fling ourselves out to the world and it is good and healing and expanding. And we reel ourselves back within our interior selves, and it is just as good, just as healing, just as expansive.
The trick is knowing, of course, when to do what. And really, there’s no trick at all. It’s simply flexing most fundamental and often most flaccid muscle we’ve got — listening.
If you are feeling in a similar space, a call to quiet and go within, a moment needed to fold in half and shore up a little energy, I challenge you to send me a picture of you in your own child’s pose of Power, Wisdom and Self Actualization! On your kitchen floor, on aisle 34b of Target, near your office desk — wherever you might be called to double down on your energies, aggressively building up the supply for your next great leap. Send it on and I will upload next week in what will hopefully be a collage of raw, unbridled primal strength, genius self-insight, and Oprah-like emotional intelligence.
(one tip – I suggest a quick check for red bugs or ants or other bities if you plan to go nose down in Child’s at your neighborhood park’s spring fling festival).