The Weight of the Floor

12 Dec

In yoga, they always talk about feeling the weight of the floor.  When only your leg is touching the floor during half moon or only your palms during crow, you need to feel the support of the floor and know that you are secure because the floor is beneath you, holding your weight.

Yesterday, during 2 1/2 hours of yoga, I felt the weight of the floor.

The ground is always there – sturdy, unyielding, firm.  But so rarely do I actually feel it.

As a child, I felt it. Falling while playing soccer, crashing while sledding down a hill, picnics in the grass, hunting for four-leaf clovers in a meadow.  Crying when my hopes were dashed, frustration when I didn’t grasp a school concept, shyness when I considered hosting a birthday party.  At those times, I was good at letting the weight of something, or someone else, hold me up.  So often, my parents became my floor and I felt that weight.

But the weight has been tentative lately.  There’s no time or space for lying on my floor (and when I do, it’s usually involving a foam roller or ab exercises, neither of which leave much time for feeling anything but discomfort).  My activities involve being upright – biking to work, handling employee issues, sitting through classroom lectures, running in ever-increasing circles around the Charles River gearing up for another marathon.  And my floor consists of such a wide variety (God, my parents, my siblings, friends, coworkers, classmates, mentors) and of such a geographic diversity (various states, England, France, Albania, Japan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Israel….) that often I feel the weight of one but not the many.

Life is not lived in a vacuum.  Life cannot be handled alone.  It is perfectly okay to have a floor, to find yourself on that floor, and to let someone else provide the stability while you rest.  When you push into the floor in your pushup position, the floor pushes back in some sense.

Resting and recharging is good.  Staying and slumbering is not.  Giving up on doing anything yourself, laying passively, expecting others to carry your weight for you indefinitely is not healthy.  But taking a break from the challenge, engaging in an active rest, receiving from others for a period of time is healthy.

Feel the weight of the floor.  Feel how steady and unyielding and firm it is.  Know that there is a solid bedrock beneath you. Trust that the floor will not shift, that any weight you place on it will be met and held.  And then look for others – flagging, dragging, sagging – and offer to be their floor.

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