Last night my travelling companion woke me at 3.30 am to let me know we were being bothered by a Bear. “Bears” I moaned, “what next”. Of course it wasn’t a Bear, they don’t have bears in Pennsylvania or do they? They don’t have hurricanes in NYC either or earthquakes in New Jersey, but this week has been full of anomalies and its been super interesting to observe myself and my reactions as I ride the rocky waves along with the rest of the crew of humanity.
It all started with a plan.
I had spent the last two weeks in NYC studying with my teacher Alan Finger and also sharing a Yoga workshop on the Gayatri Mantra, plus visiting friends and family. Even though it was inspiring to share time with others I was also ready for some down time. My parents have a beautiful place right on the southern most tip of the Jersey shore and the plan was to head down there, stare at the waves and do NOTHING i mean nothing….well that was the plan anyway.
My first holiday morning was absolutely perfect. I walked along the beach to town , did a little sunglass shopping, talked to some local teenage girls in the sunglass shop about Yoga and how wonderful it is for stress relief and also how great teaching is because you get to be of such help to others. I managed to book myself a massage at the local Yoga centre and then slowly made my way back along the beach to home, kicking the sand through my toes and contemplating the nature of life.. Everything was just going along perfectly and then….
The house shook, at first I was confused. Was it the washing machine? I had just put on a load, but then the house shook more violently and it hit me- EARTHQUAKE! And then the next thought…Earthquakes don’t happen here, and the next thought, I am on the beach and a tidal wave could come any second.
I completely panicked and yelled to my companion ” Lets go! It’s an earthquake, we need to drive West.” I grabbed the car keys, my wallet, a pair of pants ( I was in my bathing suit) and ran for it. But my friend, being practically minded, took his time and gathered all his things.
” C’mon lets go!” I was literally running around like a chicken squawking, ” Why do you need all this stuff?” Rather than react he reminded me it was of no use to panic and ushered me into the car. People were out on the streets by now, looking disorientated. I have no idea why I didn’t lean out the window as we were leaving and yell, ” Get out! There could be a Tsunami!” All I could think about was me and saving myself.
And If a tidal wave had hit and I did manage to survive what resources had I gathered? NONE! I had escaped in a bathing suit , without food, water or money and by the way was low on gas.
Thank god for the Radio, not too far out of town we discovered that the epicentre of the quake was in Virginia and there was no chance of a Tsunami and that the quake was felt from Boston to Atlanta. I called my brothers in NYC to see how they were and they both shared how wild it was to feel their office buildings shake. After hearing their stories and calming down considerably, I realised that I was not out on some raft in the ocean by myself having to paddle to safety. I was one of millions flowing with the high waves in the unexpected moments, and wasn’t that why I practiced yoga? To be reminded that I am not separate from the whole?
In the afternoon after the quake I did a calming yoga practice with forward bends and slow considered exhalations. I sat in meditation for a long time, feeling the wind, hearing the birds and listening to the sound of the ocean. Even though the ground had shaken, and I had freaked out nothing had actually changed. Nature was still going. In fact nature keeps going in spite of my thoughts, feelings, beliefs and fears. I am born into this creation and I will die in this creation.
A while back I had a thought about Nature, ” Mother earth is consistently giving her life to us as an offering” No matter what we think or do, or how we hurt her she keeps giving us life. She is innocently going about her business just being. Every now and then she shakes and blows and explodes, but its all part of her offering…we can either put meaning on it or not.
Whether I am panicking in an Earthquake, calmly evacuating from a hurricane or being threatened by an imaginary bear makes no difference to Mother earth. The only one it makes a difference to is me…
and that begs the question… Who is me anyway?
Stay tuned to find out if I ever figure that one out…