Donna and I taught our yoga workshop last Saturday. I've taught a couple of classes this week and am guiding the 101 Meditation workshop this weekend. There are two in service programmes to attend at the studio and besides Heather's meditation class this past Tuesday, I'd like to fit in one more yoga class. I was offered a new teaching contract yesterday, in an unexpected area. I said "Yes," of course, because it's good practice to grab every lifeline and this is a wonderful opportunity to teach in a place I love dearly, but all the busyness and excitement of change has me feeling a bit flighty.
Fortunately and with utmost good timing, Heather's class was about staying grounded when life threatens to carry you away on the winds of change. We worked with our breath. We grounded ourselves, literally, by placing sandbags on our bodies to give us a sense of weight and security. We practised just sitting and being with whatever comes up. We focused our attention on a candle flame, observing how the flame flickers and shifts, but continues to illuminate the room. She reminded us that, while our lives may seem to be the winds that blow and disturb the flame, the Self stays steady, rooted in our True Nature.
When changes threaten to carry us away on winds of emotion, we can use our habits and practices to maintain our grounding. This week, I've looked to my spinning to keep me centered and calm. The fibre I'm using is cotton. This cotton is organically grown, naturally coloured, purchased from a small business. It needs to be spun finely, with a long draw. If my attention shifts away from the act of making yarn, even for a moment, the loss of focus shows instantly, either as lumps in the yarn or an actual break. I have to maintain awareness of the movement of my hands, the ways in which I hold and shift my body. If I forget to breathe, it shows in the yarn, usually with a sudden snap where, sometimes, the yarn end disappears into the mass of string on the bobbin, not to be rediscovered without a return to patience and careful attention as I retrace the path of the vanishing yarn. I've learned the wisdom, both spiritually and practically, of remaining focused on my task when spinning fine cotton yarns. It seems fitting that something grown from the Earth can offer grounding to another creature who is having difficulty staying rooted to that Earth.
And so I spin, yards and metres and metres and yards of fine, green cotton string. A bobbin full, I will rewind the yarn to smooth it, spin another, then another and perhaps one more. Each of these yarns will be plied with the others, bound together with twist to make a fuller, richer, solid unit of string. As I spin, I feel the Earth beneath me, supporting me and my wheel. The whirlwind of emotions slows and settles around me. I breathe. The winds calm and once again, I'm prepared to resume a steady course.