How it works
Rest restores you.
I struggled to find my backbends again. It has been nearly nine months since I’ve done one on my own. My yoga teacher tells me, “Move your heart forward. Soften it.” In response, my back tightens while my head screams: “That’s physiologically impossible!” along with several fitting f***ing expletives directed to those who make backbends look oh-so-easy. Up until recently, I couldn’t imagine that ease would come with this asana, this pose. This got me thinking….
I've learned this past year that we view healing in our culture like something we have to do. We go to the doctor, we get the surgery, we do the treatments, we take our meds, we radiate, we meditate, we up our downward dogs, we swap sugar for greens, and we hope to emerge from all of this as we were. Strong. Healed. Well. Well, this is far from how healing actually works.
I’m a meticulous doer. And when I do, I go all out. This past year, I put everything I had into healing my cancer. But, what I learned about healing is that – like love, respect, and trust, you can’t rush it. It is given, not taken. Like my backbend-baby, healing comes from undoing, from ease and rest.
When I was diagnosed, some very well-meaning people told me that my illness was rooted in my need to heal my heart and mind – that my wholeness was not well. On came the burning question, “Did I contribute to my cancer?” There is a belief that healing your body is directly related to healing your heart and mind and that healing won’t occur if you are stuck – if there is resistance.
While I believe to some degree that our hearts and minds impact our health, I'm finding this idea to be a reductive look at a complex issue. People get sick. And, you can’t map out everything in life. Nor can you change things simply by willing them. And, you can’t avoid illness by being an open-minded, good, loving and peaceful person. My yoga practice has taught me that when confronted with the most advanced asana – healing, I got lost. I went right to the place of doing and in my confusion and grief, I forgot to rest.