Patterns of day, Patterns of night

The moon rises in the Eastern sky, the sky streaked oranges, purples,and pinks. The Olympic mountain range appears through the clouds on my left as the sun sets in the west.

It is time for evening practice. Time to let go of the day. To take stock. Give thanks.

Every morning the sun rises, we inhale and move into our day. The body of the day is a countless rhythm of interactions, of producing, of showing something and expressing out. We move in our world as if the person who we show is all that matters, the person we put make up on, style our hair for, eat well for and exercise for is what is most important. Yet underneath all that, when we come back to the breath, when we focus on the breath and the space between the inhalation and exhalation, we can see that this here, this moment is really all that does. We matter, everything we do matters, how we think, and most importantly, how we treat ourselves and each other is everything really. We are interconnected, yet we go about our day with very little awareness of it.

When designing a yoga class or a wellness program for another person, I think of the time spent in expression, of the degree of time we give to activating and stimulating the body to wake up and align. But I also think of the time we must go in, a time where we fall into the spaces we cannot see, and to get to these dark and informative spaces we must choose poses that help us to engage the parasympathetic system to relax and balance the stimulating components of the initial poses. We end with savasana, the essential third of a yoga class that integrates the body and nervous system into wholeness, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, the yin and the yang of our practice coming together like the moon in its full cycle.

This idea of balance applies to our everyday life. We can start the day with a daily ritual that helps us to wake up, to bring us into the day. We can choose to make these morning rituals as sacred, as a path and tool for mindfulness and awareness as well as a means to align with our intent for the day. This start to the day can be a beautiful way to return to center and a way to cultivate harmony and peace, especially when living in the full catastrophe of everyday life.

Yet when the end of the day happens, the sun sets, and many of us roar around making dinner plans, checking facebook and texting friends good night sometimes into the late hour. We may even give a rudimentary scan of gratitude.

The end of the day is much like the creative process. A time of not knowing, of letting go, of moving into the darkness, and falling into the dream world where when in rest anything can rise up into the consciousness. This time is as essential as the New Moon in the sky when the earth takes refuge behind the moon. Without the whole rotational cycle of the moon, the earth would miss the miracles of biodiversity and nutrition afforded by the rise and fall of the tides. Moving into the night part of the cycle is the feminine, and we must prepare for her with the same care and attention we would give to our lover when melting into her embrace.

In a sense, the evening is the time for whiting out the canvas of the day so that the stores of consciousness can be renewed and integrated, so that we can arise anew into the next day.

We must also be aware that sleep is not the “relaxing” part of the cycle. The going in and relaxing component must occur before we go into our night womb of sleep. When sleep does come, it then becomes a place of restoration, of renewal and revitalization.

Most likely if we valued equally the creative process in this society, this whole talk of relaxing and preparing for bed would not be occurring. Like the moon, the creative process demands down time,  a time of not producing, of putting together the unconsciousness. How many people have gone away for a week or two, taken a break from a project or an instrument they are trying to learn only to find they are even better and more productive? What if we were to value this death of the day equally as the beginning surge of life into the day?

As you end your day, may you give yourself the space and time to come in, to let go and be in the soft spaces of not knowing. May you be well and happy. May you feel only the deepest love in these unknown spaces. May the feminine in you, the Shakti of creation come forth and be nurtured. May you rest well.

#oneheartpath #eveningpractice #onlyloveistheanswer