by guest author Katie Lane
What the Christchurch earthquake is teaching me about stability.
Just when I thought I’d found my roots…the ground shook. AGAIN.
Tuesday morning, 11.32am. The biggest aftershock I felt since our original 7.1 magnitude earthquake in early September. It was also the first *big* aftershock for me since arriving back in NZ from an amazing therapy training with John Friend in Maui.
Compared to the BIG event, this shake was minor. However, a 5.0 on any scale is really no small thing!
The woman I was talking with on the phone started to cry and hung up the apologizing that she needed to call her kids.
The walls of my house were still rattling as I walked outside. I could feel the inner and outer equilibrium I thought I had cultivated starting to crumble…
Right now, at this point in my life, I am sitting at so many crossroads that my head spins. On the threshold of so much and in so many different areas of my life. Perhaps it is the change in season. Perhaps it is the time of my life. So many circumstantial factors play a part. Yet regardless, in some way, all of what’s emerging, speaking up, shifting, evolving has happened recently and boy, has it happened fast! AND all of it centered right around the time of the big earthquake. This fascinates me…
It seems the earthquake shook up much more than the physical ground.
For me, it literally rocked my understanding of certainty and stability. The ground beneath my feet was something that I believed was solid, steadfast, and definitely able to be relied on. And, when suddenly the ground wasn’t as stable as I believed or expected, the flow of feelings that surfaced (and that continue to emerge) were challenging.
The earthquake and its aftermath have compelled me to shift my relationship to the ground, to the Earth and to my understanding of the stability that I really believed was guaranteed…
I think that at some point in every relationship in our lives, we have to make the choice of what is more important to us – maintaining a sense of control OR opening to real intimacy.
Nothing ever really stays still. Including, it turns out, the literal ground we walk upon! The nature of life is movement; the ground of being is pulsation. We sense this inside ourselves when we turn to our breath, when we feel the beat of our heart, when we stay with the flow of our feelings that arise and dissolve unceasingly.
If we live with the belief that life is something that can be contained, controlled, or paused when we want it to…ultimately, we face disappointment and betrayal.
However, if we are willing to let go of the need to control all possible outcomes and circumstances than we have a shot at shifting our relationships from being based on control and satisfaction of expectations to being based on intimacy.
Intimacy is the true knowing of something or someone and it requires the willingness to open to, feel, and then navigate what arises or is offered with sensitivity, tenderness, and honesty.
Even though the ground IS slowly settling, the legacy of the quake continues inside.
This experience has shaken much more the foundations of my house. Deep feelings, exciting contemplations, and inner longings have bubbled up to the surface and, in both positive and scary ways, big shifts seem imminent.
A few days after the quake, I stopped at my local cafe to indulge in a much needed (yet probably not the most helpful) coffee. No one in the cafe knew each other yet everyone reached out to speak together and share their experiences. If nothing else, crisis makes it crystal clear that we are all in this together!
The woman next to me turned her head and looked at me with a wry smile. “I reckon…,” she said. “Christchurch really just needed a bit of shaking up!”
There is truth here. We all do! The benefit of a sudden shaking is that it compels us to wake up. To see the truth (however startling!) of where we are and what we are doing. To get intimate with our direct experience in the moment and see how the choices we are making consciously and unconsciously are either expanding us or limiting us.
Yoga is an amazing practice because we start this practice of intimacy with what is most easily accessible and handy to us – our own body.
Yoga is not really a practice of being comfortable. Any beginner yoga student will tell you that! And although it gets more familiar over time, yoga is a practice where we deliberately choose to keep putting ourselves in the place of the “rub”.
Over and over again, we encounter places where the unknown confronts us. If we can engage these places with a sense of spaciousness and receptivity, then, as John Friend said so simply at my training,
Our discomfort becomes the access point to awareness… and to awakening.
It’s at the place of friction that sparks fly and at the edges of our boundaries that growth happens. Spring is a marvelous time to explore change, to make the shifts that need to be made, to relish the flowering of life in unexpected places, and to keep cultivating and expanding a sense of intimacy with every part of our life and world.
I’m ready…Are you with me?