Ready. Set. Wait!

There's something lovely, almost magical, about anticipation. While working on staying grounded and living fully in the moment, we sometimes can't ignore anticipation's seductive tingle. The day before that long-planned for vacation. Knowing a loved one will be arriving soon for a visit. Waiting to welcome new life into the world.

Among events from momentus to mild, opening a yoga studio falls squarely in the middle. To say we were excited would be an understatement. If you read my first blog post -- I hope you did! -- you know the space My Yoga Place Palm Springs occupies was the former home of a popular and successful yoga studio. My hope, then as now, was to continue the tradition of support, eduation and healing started by the previous owner. Myself, my amazing hubs, our teacher Karol Trejo; plus, our behind-the-scenes creative, Cosmic Jumper Digital Design, set to the meticulous work of getting everything in readiness. Many late nights, early mornings, and numerous cups of coffee later, we put the finishing touches on our new studio.

We had a "soft" opening to start, with a handful of students (we're limited to 7) eager and willing to work with our new health & safety procedures, giving us feedback on how well we did and where we might improve. Everything went smoothly, and we took that as a sign we were ready to officially open our doors.

We announced the date of our planned opening on social media: Monday, July 13th. That announcement (wonderful and mild in its own way) was met by a (notably momentus) declaration ordering "the closure of all indoor operations at restaurants, bars, gyms, churches, malls and other locaations in 30 counties statewide". We listened as report after report detailed the rise in COVID-19 cases in our state.

"Even the best-laid plans oft go awry." (Apologies to Robert Burns)

There was never a question that we would close. We announced, as many businesses did, that the closure would be temporary and we'd be ready to welcome students back as soon as it's considered safe to do so. So we rolled up our mats, shut off the lights and locked the studio doors for what we hoped wouldn't be the last time.

Like many of you, I rely on my breathwork and meditation practice to help me navigate difficult times. I also read quite a bit -- and that brings me back to the Robert Burns poem I quoted earlier.

The poem, "To a Mouse, on Turning Up Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785" recounts Burns' thoughts on a mouse whose home was destroyed as he ploughed his fields. Reading it again, I find subtle relevance in its verse. Like the mouse, we've each been affected as COVID-19 -- "the cruel plough" -- continues to upend our reality, proving "foresight may be vain". "Still," the poet notes, "you are blessed, compared with me! The present only touches you." Burns goes on to note that, as a human, he casts his eye forward to "guess and fear" a future he cannot see.

At times like this, it's tempting for us to fret and ponder about the future or look wistfully back at the past. Yoga asks that we do neither. It insists our attention and focus remain solidly in the present. We can't escape to a past that no longer exists nor pine for a future that hasn't happened yet. Going back to the mouse in the poem, its only shelter is destroyed just as winter is about to descend. It is vulnerable to predators and prospects for survival seem bleak. Yet if we know anything about Nature, its inhabitants are survivors. While Burns pondered the fate of the mouse, I imagine that, seconds after realizing its home had been destroyed, the resourceful little creature did not worry over the loss but set about finding another to place in which to shelter for the coming winter.

Like the mouse, I've decided to stay firmly in the moment with all of its glorious uncertainty. I can't control when the plough will come, but I can keep strengthening the walls of my inner sanctuary with yoga and meditation to help me survive the storm.
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