In one of my fits of semi-regular insomnia the other night I came across an article in the NY Times about a microscopic creature that lives mainly in moss and lichen. Tardigrades resemble tiny bears (with extra paws), or to me they look a bit like dugongs. You can read the article here.
Aside from my fascination with the world in general, and especially weird trivia, this article resonated with me because the Tardigrades are possibly the most adaptable and resilient creatures on the planet. They can live in extremely hot and extremely cold conditions. They can change their metabolism to suit the environment they are in. And they can curl up into basically indestructible balls called tuns that can be subjected to enormous amounts of atmospheric pressure. They can be dried up completely and then brought back to life. I read this article and I thought, I want to be indestructible!
I think the key take-away that is transferable to us is that change is key to being anti-fragile. Recognizing that it is a strength to be able to bend a little and to shape-shift with our environment. We are fed the constant message that you are an INDIVIDUAL! You are UNIQUE! That the clothes you wear and the instragram accounts that you follow tell people what they need to know about what kind of person you are and what you believe about the world. And that it is important to hold that position of individuality and special-ness. But what if our beliefs make us stiff and unyielding? We can't change our minds, or admit we were wrong for fear of giving up any hard-won ground.
Resilience is being able to take up strain and absorb it, then follow it through to its natural resolution. My hunch is that most of us are capable of taking up strain and absorbing it, but then we hang on to it, creating tension and dis-ease in our bodies as we struggle to hold one position. We only seek resolution when we are confronted with a crisis that forces us to change something in our life.
Being flexible doesn't have to mean that you are vulnerable to being swept up by other people who are more forceful and rigid in their behaviour. You can be okay with adapting to new situations while still maintaining your core essence. It just means that maybe when change inevitably comes into your life and your job changes, or you have a baby, or your intimate relationships begin or end, that you can walk toward the change with more poise and possibly be less negatively impacted by it.
Our yoga practice can teach us to relax into difficult or uncomfortable poses by moving slowly towards them. We don't need to avoid them, nor do we need to rush head-long toward them. Here is what I think of when I think about change: I can see myself ten years ago and know completely that I am a radically different person. And that evolution was not an easy thing and a lot of it was painful and ugly. But I wouldn't go back for anything in the world.
As for the tardigrades, I hear they are the new sea-monkeys. I will be sending away in the mail for mine today.
Thanks for reading.
Welcome to our first post here at Granola HQ (AKA Fearless Heart Yoga in UpTown Waterloo)
So let's start with the big picture. The klesas (afflictions of the heart) in yoga label for us the fears that drive our personal decisions and narratives. When I chose the name Fearless Heart for the studio, I was choosing to challenge my own story and to find out for myself what it would really mean to be fearless.
Each day we choose our story about the way the world works and the way we see ourselves within it. And sometimes that story is driven by concerns about what other people think, fear of being wrong, fear of humiliation and if you drill down, they all distill to a fear of being unlovable.
Rather than looking at fear as a whole, I have been finding success lately and simply labeling one action at a time when I recognize it. For example, I am pretty afraid of things going well. Lately, I have had a decent string of personal and studio related successes. It has been terrifying. Because I have been working on a core belief that if things go too well, it just means there is something terrible lurking around the corner. My experiences as a relatively conscious adult would tell me that isn't true, but it is a belief that has been woven deep into my personal fabric and the only way to unravel it is to tug at one string at a time.
So I am going to keep my focus for now on going after things that I want. One of those things is to make the studio bigger and more successful this year. I am making a declaration and working on pulling that thread loose. I have attached a picture of me playing with Hanumanasana uptown, recently. The story behind this pose is about taking a big leap.
Tell me in the comments what you are afraid of! I'd like to send words of encouragement to you on your own practice becoming fearless.
See you on the mat soon, friends.