There is a subtle freshness that arises after enduring a challenging experience. Sure, the challenge is difficult, and at times, dark, but I am talking about a bit later on, a few days the fever breaks and you can start tasting real food again, a few weeks after a loved one passes and you realize that life is now even more full of their beauty, when things start to feel less heavy, more light – THIS is when a soft newness and delicate innocence starts to trickle in.
Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, keeps surfacing in my thoughts. Do you remember him? He serves, he suffers, he ages, and when destiny intercepts time, he bursts into flames, much to Harry’s dismay. However, if you remember correctly, his destruction does not represent an unfortunate ending. It is the rise of a new beginning. Dumbledore laughs with Harry as together they witness the unbelievable experience of Fawkes’ re-birth from the ashes into a bright, wide-eyed baby bird.
2014: the phoenix has burst into flames.
It has been a fascinating year, filled to the brim with absolutely never-before-in-my-life experiences that have kept me perched at the edge of my seat. I’ve built muscle where there was none before. Challenging, clearly exciting, and marked with significant flame bursting, this year has set the stage for new births, new beginnings.
Let me elaborate.
Dengue fever took me out for two months – it was definitely one of the most traumatic experiences that my body has had to handle. Naturally, life collapsed. My productivity, my yoga practice, my routine, and plans were completely razed to the ground. In its place were intravenous fluids, kichidi (a soothing dish of boiled lentils and rice), and a whole lot of sleep.
First it destroyed, then it cleansed. Recovering from dengue fever rejuvenated my system and helped me to successfully re-enter America; I not only had strict orders from the doctors, but permission to rest, to reflect, read, and appreciate the goodness of my life, before jumping into the world. I had time to converse with warm neighbors and pick the ripe oranges from our small orchard in the backyard. I found tolerance, moderation, and spurts of immense gratitude when I noticed the vast amount of love that existed within my family.
Additionally, three very important figures in my life all departed within months of each other.
Guruji BKS Iyengar passed on August 20th. He healed me and opened my eyes to yoga in the purest form – yoga as action in relaxation, a way of life, a spiritual journey. Being in India for his passing was a poignant, powerful moment. I wrote a post dedicated to Guruji on the day of his passing, which you can read here.
Luke Dovedy passed on November 14th. This dog raised me to be who I am today. He taught me how to love with my full heart in every circumstance. He taught me to express myself with confidence, even if it meant acting completely ridiculous. He listened without judgement, soaked up all negativity, and he was the guardian of our family, a true jedi knight. The force continues to run strongly within him.
Master Chariji passed on December 20th. As my spiritual guide, he showed me how to tune in and surrender to the voice of my heart. He taught me that love is a muscle – the more you use it, the more you have of it – the more you love, the more love you have. I visited him often while living in India these past two years.
While I miss these three guides every day, there is a certain reassurance and serenity in the fact that they have left together for their special meeting beyond the clouds. I imagine that they dusted their hands and paws, and with a gentle dip of the chin, signaled to one another in agreement, “It’s time,” as they seamlessly handed off the baton to the next runner.
The passing of these great teachers gives me courage and momentum to start jogging along the road that they have thoughtfully laid out for me – a road that lingers off the worn, beaten path, to one of brilliant unknowns, adventure, service, and continuous learning. It is time to rise up from the ashes, surrender to the heart, trust the unknown, and discover the new.
2015. Here comes the baby bird. The beautiful phoenix.
CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR!
- Madeline Cakes