It was the yoga class that wouldn’t end.
I did everything. I breathed into poses. I tried to focus on the present moment. I tried all of those things you’re supposed to do if I find myself struggling. They usually work for me but not this time. This regular 90-minute class stretched out over the course of an eternity. Each pose confronted me like an enemy. Even my “friends” (i.e. the easier poses) brought little satisfaction or calm.
I felt a little betrayed that the class had been framed as one about “recieving,” about opening yourself to the possibilties that were unfolding in our practice. What was I supposed to be recieving? Anger? Frustration? I could have easily thrown myself on the ground and had a full-fledged melt down.
But, I didn’t. I stuck with it, tired and sore as I was. I began thinking that perhaps the anger and frustration was just something to which I needed to let go. Maybe those things were blocking what I was really supposed to recieve. After all, how often to we reject “gifts” in our everyday lives? When someone gives us a complement, do we accept it graciously or do we dismiss it as ridiculous? When someone offers unsolicited help, do we experience it with joy or guilt?
Advent is indeed a time for recieving. In this season, we are reminded of the extravagent gift God gave us in his son, Jesus. Chiristian’s believe this small child, born to young parents in a barnyard, IS the incarnation of God. This child is evidence that God’s hope, joy, peace and love is alive in the world. We have to remember not to let other things get in the way of this tremendous gift, to let go of things that block our ability to recieve it.
I did recieve something after all. Perhaps this complex and painful lesson about letting go is what I was supposed to learn in my yoga class. A hard lesson, to be sure. But, one I’ll never forget.