Today I had spent some intimate time with my back yard. It was an extraordinary experience. The sun had just come up. I was in my jammies still, padding around the house, scanning in my mind for the order of the day—what to do first, then after that, and so on. My eye caught the cushy grass that lies just beyond our sliding back door. I had an impulse to do a little yoga out there. I knew it would be wet from the overnight dew, but I just figured “ok, so I’ll get a little wet.”
Without another moment’s thought, I went outside and began a sun salutation—to the actual rising sun. If you’ve never done this, and you do yoga, you should try it at least once. There was something wordless and holy about it. I felt the warm, muggy air on my arms. Cardinals would fly by my head every now and then, on their morning errands. Robins and sparrows and chickadees singing in the trees. My bare feet on the loving, moist grass, my body moving through the salutation, again and again…each time a little stronger, longer, a little more aware and awake and alive.
And the further into my practice I went, the more I entered into a rare, profound silence. And in that sweetness, I came into relationship with the earth under my feet. I felt my kinship with the tender wind, the sheltering trees, the many living beings living in their branches. I felt the sky as my big sister, the whole world of my back yard as my extended family.
When I came to the last part of the sequence, the supine twists, I’m not sure I can adequately convey the experience. Lying back on the warm, wet grass and letting my knees fall to one side while my head turned to the other…each inhalation, a gift: sweet scent of grass and earth and water and life…each exhalation, a gift: my body letting go ever more lovingly into the ground. I experienced a grassy green embrace, as though my back yard and I had just shared a very intimate conversation where both silence and the senses were at play, and she was hugging me before my departure. If there is a God for me, this was my church, my prayer, and its answer.
This Gratitude Project started out as an exercise. But today it became a spiritual gift. I’m humbled and so at peace.