It is a miracle. Let’s call it “the Miracle on Oak Road”.
I have been mightily struggling with our neighbor’s very large, very imposing, very suburban, very new house, which appears to tower over our more hobbit-like-cottage-like-dwelling. It’s flagpole (along with its American flag bigger than the state of Louisiana), its elevated porch, its lights that shine directly into our windows, its dog whose life purpose is to stand at the fence and bark at our house—all of these issues have called me into erratic and semi-successful, ever-fleeting practice.
I know, I know—our human “work” is to accept what is. Life on life’s terms, the Twelve Steps tell us. Controlling reality is an illusion and the source of suffering. Yes. I know this. I teach this. I believe this. I practice this. And then life ups the ante, in order to guarantee the deepening of my practice, and/or my increased suffering.
I have prayed, talked to the good people next door (both so excited to have their first new home), let go, relaxed, only to be re-triggered by Dalia, the squat-shaped, never-ceasing canine barker, whose bark will follow me past the gates of heaven. I have put out boundaries, kept the focus on myself, celebrated all I have, only to be awakened at 1:42 a.m. by a beacon of porch light strong enough to both guide stray ships to port and to awaken me (full disclosure—I am a ridiculously light sleeper). And then, the beginnings of the miracle manifested.
Trees. We bought three white pines, two grownups and one adolescent. (I don’t think those are real “tree distinctions”. Yet that’s exactly how they appear—two adults and an adolescent, a family.) And they are now here, standing guard against the endless flow of busy next door energy.
They are not huge nor are they tall. They are soft and voluptuous. They do not BLOCK OUT the neighbor’s house. They bring softness and alternate focus. These sentinels of softness are profound energetic reminders for me, as if they are saying, “Look here. Look at us. Soften here with us. No need to look up at the house. Stay soft around this. Relax.” What an incredible and necessary reminder! A gift of realignment from the natural world is a generous and impactful blessing, indeed.
Trying to change things, pushing sensations away, struggling against what is—all are all futile, exhausting and fairly shitty life strategies. What we resist does more than persists—it gets louder and more constricted. Just like on the yoga mat, as we struggle against sensations, the sensations increase. Relaxing with what is, on and off the mat, opens the door to transformation. Living yoga is not about changing reality; it’s about cultivating the strategies to be present with what we’re given. Then the change flows in.
As I write this, those sentinels of softness and guardians of relaxation, our fuzzy family of white pines, is softly settling in the yard. This trio of trees, so gloriously expanded, is exactly what I need to remember—to relax, to breathe, to let it be. These guardians of the moment, these beings of blessing, deliver to me moment after moment, the real miracle, my capacity to respond differently.
Dear Readers, what triggers you in your life? What’s the arena of most struggle? Look around the natural world. Where can you find an energetic reminder, a natural support to practice responding differently? Keep your emails a’rolling in.