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Peeling Potatoes | A Strange Mindful Activity

Updated: May 17

With eyes half closed, I drove the 20 -25 minutes to my Ashtanga Yoga Class this morning. The trees were outlined by the beautiful rising of the sun in a juicy orange glow. I sipped on my Bubly water, trying to will myself to wake up.


"Slowly, I thought... slowly."


Arriving in Galt, I noticed so many more awake humans than me- but I was getting there. The mind was less fuzzy and my eyes were opening up more and more now.


I had always envied Yogis who had 'transformative' happenings on their mat or during class. I had heard stories upon stories of regular old people bursting into tears or having ah-ha moments during yoga class. I was always in awe and I wished that I too, could have one of those moments one day!


Like every other time I enter the studio, I am happy and ready to work toward challenging myself and learning more. Especially now that I am training to become a certified yoga instructor. I was so proud this morning at the start of class when I remembered the Hakini mudra - a sort of ball you create with only fingertips touching, in which you place your intentions for class inside. It's so beautiful and simple - and today, I felt a good student because I actually remembered the Sanskrit name!


In addition to our Ashtanga practice, we had Jamie, our resident Videographer setting up his equipment to record this class. Secretly I hoped that I was wearing appropriate clothing and that nothing would get exposed, and my shirt would stay in place during downward dog!


As we flowed (Vinyasa) into our poses (Asanas) we entered forward fold poses ( I can't remember the Sanskrit name) and as we tucked our chins into our chests it started to happen.


I was getting super emotional, and nothing could stop me. Not only did my neck sing out in pain - remnants from the horrible car crash that happened months ago where my son and I were hit head on by another car who was hit by another car from behind - one a distracted driver. Trauma was buried deep for the both of us and the spot where I haven't been able to heal? My shoulders and neck.


As we stretched and let our bodies bend, my tears were pushing themselves out. I tried to hold it in.. there were video cameras in class for God's sake! But I couldn't. Overwhelmed by tears, and the need to release the stored up trauma and emotions that I just haven't let out - it came pouring out for the rest of the class. Despite how hard I tried to hide it. Thank goodness for my long hair - it covered my face and I let some of it out.. I still held some back - but I was feeling proud for at least letting some of it out because it was so needed.


During the last portion of our class, during corpse pose ( Savansana) more tears pushed their way out. I remember thinking:


"The car accident didn't kill me, but it's killing me.".


Whoa.




And instead of feeling sad, hurt, afraid, or angry - I felt free. I had come home to myself and my deepest feelings. I had experienced that moment on the mat that I had so very much desired, and thought would never ever happen to me.


I realized: It was time to step out of my comfort zone, time to stand up proud and tall and be unapologetically; ME. And I also understood the effects of holding in feelings, and why I was holding them in.


" I had to be strong for my son"

" I had to keep it together"

" I had to keep going"


All self-imposed feelings that I didn't HAVE to HAVE.


So I leapt into happiness and gratitude. More tears came out, and this time it was deep. It just sprang out and again, I felt freedom as well as sweet release. I imagined that the accident was a blip on my life's timeline, and let it crumble away because I no longer needed to hold on to it.


When I arrived home, I grabbed a batch of potatoes that I wanted to have ready for dinner later on today and sat on the porch and peeled them. A chore I would normally despise and rush through - I just sat there and really enjoyed every stroke of the potato peeler and the process of cleaning them, and setting them free too.



I thought about what potatoes represent: earth, grounding, strength, agility, resilience, nourishment, hard and soft qualities, outer layers, inner goodness. Bumps, bruises, a hole or two, and imperfect shape. All of this significance and meaning in my life -closely resembled me, and my attributes. All this from potatoes? Didn't realize they had something to teach me, but man did they ever.


I am so grateful .


Namaste,

Steph

XO





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