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‘Up on the roof’

Wake up in the dark. Roust son out of bed for the morning routine and we’re out the door by 7:3am to walk to school. The walk is all downhill, along streets that are mostly cobblestone or flat stones that look like slate, with ‘sidewalks’ that are barely 2′ across. We turn right at the roof with roosters (live ones!) and there’s the school. I pivot right around for the more slowly paced walk back up the hills to home. Met by hubby with fresh cappuccinos in hand, which we take up to the roof to sip.

The question for this day: is it possible to create a lifestyle and means of making an income that are, in a word, ‘relaxed’? My husband remarked this morning, as he has most mornings, that I seem so happy when I am relaxed. When I am happy, I cook more, which in turn inspires him to do more to keep me happy so he eats well. But, as always, I digress.

We parted ways for our ‘work’ spaces, with the cat choosing to follow me around today. Changed into my leggings and brought my mat to the roof, cat following up the narrow, metal circular stairs (didn’t take him long to get over THAT fear!) Did a little furniture rearranging, rolled out my mat, and propped up my upper back on two ‘eggs’. Slowly breathed my way in to an asana practice, assisted by the cat.

Mudita‘, or ‘joy’, is a word that I have been rolling around in my head and kind of chewing on ever since Cynthia made it her ‘mantra‘ (why she made it her mantra is a lovely story; ask her about it!). Finding joy in every day; now there’s something to aspire to and be inspired by. ‘Finding’ joy asks us to be present, to meet each moment without expectation, to release without clinging. (I wonder if tacking the word ‘finding’ in front of ‘joy’ puts too much effort into it? What if we simply say ‘mudita’, and in the spaces of inhalation and exhalation our cells open to possibility, we experience mudita like a wave, a scent, a silk scarf sliding over our shoulders, opening in that moment yet allowing it to trail past…)

So today I did a practice dedicated to mudita, up on the roof of Chorro 32 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Listening to the church bells clanging, the milk truck lumbering, and the stone chippers chipping. Inhaling arms up, exhaling into a gentle uttanasana. Locals going about both the daily activities of waking up the townsfolk, with the added tasks of readying this place for the Independence Day celebrations that will start later this evening. Resting a few breaths in caturanga before swooping into urdhva mukha svanasana, pots of bougainvillea and fragrant lavender ringing my practice space.

I found mudita in the sounds and in the smells, in the cool fresh air of the high desert morning, in feeling my mat under my feet on a rooftop four floors above ground. And only when I was in sirsasana did it hit me that I was on a rooftop, four floors above ground, with only low walls and potted plants between me and some centuries old cobblestones; came out of that headstand fast!

This day, I experienced a ‘practice’ that felt like my body and breath had become just another thread in the fabric of the day. There was space for this norteamericana yogini to do her thing, and my thread was no bigger or smaller, brighter or darker, than the multitude of other threads. My bending, reaching, folding, and breathing were pieced  into the interplay just as tool on stone, hands in dough, and bell in air.

It was only when I had that moment in headstand that I felt disconnected. Which might, in turn, lend itself well to a future meditation: disconnect.

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