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This Flavor of Strength

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Today let’s look at strength as devotional

This morning in Sadhana we worked with the flexibility of the spine. Strong back, soft front. Strength, as we know, is misunderstood in our culture. Alignment, plus awareness, plus the gentle, supportive movement of our breath, gives us access to the full awe of the powers that be. Focus and ease are strength. Not pumped, muscled beyond reason, or rigid. Strength can be knowing that we don’t know. Aikido knows this, grandmothers know, nature knows.

To accept what’s happening, to cultivate a resonant response, without preference contorting the body or the mind – we allow a strength that exceeds what we could create. This strength will naturally spill over into action. When pain happens, strength looks like listening with everything in us, offering up every cell to the listening, practicing not so much “honesty” based on hard truths but sincerity, which is more open.

The prayer: May we surrender, relax in faith, in the moments before the web catches us or the wave crushes us.

The rigid body cracks bones upon impact. The surrendered body lands, it arrives. Receive it, and either way, we have unlearning going on.

Either way we are going to come apart at some point – all at once in acute crisis/revelation and incrementally over time. It’s within the plan to be cyclic like that. It’s a good sign. Some parts of the journey require us to begin again at the “beginning”– stripped and raw, deer-eyed and disoriented. We’re beginning to value that. There is nothing wrong with being brand new.

Being brand new with over-indulged adult minds is like grief and hope frolicking in the garden. Slaughtered and reborn, right there in the base of your spine, the bowl of your pelvis. No matter who’s on top, pleasure or pain, you can’t turn away from the undeniable, ungraspable meaning. This doesn’t make any sense. That it’s meaningful is clear.

In the holy place of practice we say yes to what is. We trust beyond reason everything that’s happening, exactly as it is. In our lives, having done this, we engage with a ringing sincerity. Not pretending, the will to pretend has gone away. Without calculation, the new growth reaches out of your mouth or your movements. The thunder bolt, if needed, claps the stagnant bullshit back to the source for a makeover, back to the earth for a total detox. The devotional spine is humble, present, aligned.

When this cracking open happens, and some aspect of life (or all of it) takes you out at the knees, strength looks like surrender. Let go and let God. This isn’t “the” description of strength, but it’s a big-mama version, the outermost orbit, a look-at-the-earth-from-space version. When its time comes, you will know. That’s all you’ll know. In deeply life-changing moments, surrender is the subtle miracle that tips the scale from total darkness to the emerging light. The strength you feel will be like the wet eyes of a child. Nothing to prove, only awe.


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