Upside-Down Surrender

Finding a new perspective from the mat

“Fluent” by John O’Donohue

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

I firmly believe that giant shifts in perspective can drop out of the sky at just the right moment. Just when I stop believing, I find a reason to believe again with more conviction than ever.

So, today, when all feels just slightly out of whack, when all of a sudden everything feels uncertain, how can I sit in that place of uncertainty with a knowing calm? Today, the answer was finding my way to my mat in the breeze.

Late afternoon light slanted down through the trees, projecting elongated shadows of slats of deck and stems of flowers across my mat on the deck. Collapsing onto my back I lay in quietude, gazing upwards.

Blue sky, green trees and a welcome breeze brought sanity to the recent week of hot humidity. Birds are awake again and their sounds vibrate and echo throughout the trees. The air finally smells like crisp summer without the density of the past muggy days.

I find myself on my mat. If nothing else, finding my way to the arbitrary rectangle of rubber has given me the silent go-ahead to breathe more deeply and let out steam that has been building and boiling up within my head.

Mat: A place to listen, a place to trust and a place to let go.

I found myself all of a sudden in a place of possibility that felt all too uncertain and intimidating. And so, when everything feels like it’s starting to break the diagram, starting to take new form and surprise me, I must continue to look inside, to that voice that rings loudly on the mat.

Perhaps it is the form of surprise that offends me. How could I have been sitting here all this time not knowing what was to come? How could I have spent all of this time anticipating something that might not be?

All I needed was a little change of perspective, a shift—seeing light slant and shadow in a new way, soaking in the sky from the ground and seeing the earth up close rather than from my usual standing perch.

I stand on my mat and let my head hang down below my heart. Eyes open or closed—doesn’t make a difference. The blood is flowing in a new way and all is shifting, oscillating and finding a new, refreshing place to rest. Each breath is an opportunity to stop thinking and start feeling.

Despite future shifts yet unseen and unpredicted, each gentle twist in perspective is the gift of seeing each moment with fresh eyes. When I look to my mat in this place of change and transformation I choose a willful heart-centered surrender: turn off the thinking mind and feel.

First posted at:–emma-burrows/


2 thoughts on “Upside-Down Surrender

  1. Emma, I have just read through your journal. What a wonderful way to come to know you better. I wish we could just sit together and talk, but this will have to do until we get out East again in a couple of months. Your writing is a wonderful reflection of the value of your sojourn at Kripalu. With love, Grandma

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