What do you remember?
Last weekend I practiced yoga outside in the grass. Although I could not be clothes free at the time, I did take away one barrier: my mat. I rolled up the coral rubber raft and practiced barefoot in the grass in the collective of hundreds of people. Putting the mat to the side facilitated a reconnection with a deeper part of myself that I had left behind several years ago.
At a certain point during this outside yoga event, we did what are called prostrations or pranams, a standing salutation that flowed us down onto our bellies and fully stretched our hands forward overhead in a kind of surrender or prayer. With no barrier between me and the ground, each inhale drew in something directly from the soil and each exhale rustled the grass under my nose. It was a sacred moment of quieting and connection. Something came alive in me again.
When I was a sassy little kid snap!, I had these wonderful ideas of things I wanted to try at school, church, or just for fun in the field up the street. The amazing thing is, no matter what I wanted to try, I never told myself that my idea was stupid. Of course financially they didn’t always work out, but I never hesitated to ask, “Mom! Can I learn to play the violin? Can I dance at church? Can I apply to this program to go to Japan? Can we keep the random turtled we found in the grass over there?” Nothing in my imagination seemed ridiculous. But as we have all perhaps experienced, somehow things changed over the years. I started doubting myself, started thinking that my ideas were silly. Several rough life events later, I had curled up into a ball.
Two years ago, however, I began to unfold again. Oh, by that I mean I started a clothes free life. Of course at first all the usual things with getting to know my body and being comfortable with it being exposed to the air all the time took a minute to get used to. As those initial stages passed, I began to open up to something precious: remembering who I am deep down inside.
The most potent experience for me was clothes free camping. In fact it remains my most favorite thing of all (“these are a few of my favorite things~~~”). That was new for me last year; I had never been camping at all actually. But there is something about being naked in nature and directly connected to the environment that rejuvenated my capacity to remember who I am at my core. A certain ease and confidence emerge as I stroll through the grass unclothed, and in that open space within, I remember all the simple things that I love, the things that light my heart up. I play and create music, I write more, and I dance! I can’t believe I had forgotten the fire that emerges from within me when I dance! But when I’m naked in nature all of that memory returns and my capacity to create and express heightens. Going about clothes free outside also rejuvenates and expands my capacity to love from a deep place of appreciation and wonder. Just letting the organic sounds of nighttime rattle my ears and flood all of my senses reminds me of how easy it is to be amazed by the simplest, most important things in life.
It’s interesting to return to my day-to-day environment after such potent experiences and attempt to implement that fire, passion and love in my world. Part of that is a bit scary (OMG WHAT DO I DO NOW?!?!), but it is also exciting because that capacity for expansive vision was created simply by being directly connected to nature. I start to challenge simple things, like the idea that I have to be chained to my desk should anyone need me at any moment. I question my habits, my thoughts, and I’m starting to see that there are other ways for me to live (even if I haven’t figured out how to bring it to fruition just yet, stay tuned).
This is something that I want very much for other women. So often we wear many different personalities in order to serve our families, loved ones, colleagues, even perfect strangers. Everyone else comes first, and we disappear even to ourselves. We lose connection with that organic part of ourselves that was wild and expressive when we were kids. I want to hold space for women of all ages to remember who they are and reconnect with the essential, raw, effortlessly true self. Going into nature clothes free rejuvenates my capacity to remember, to dream, to have ideas and never doubt their brilliance, and to love, so I think, and have indeed seen, that this could be powerful for other women as well.
Whether you can take a moment under a tree somewhere or simply take your shoes off and stand in the grass, make it a priority before this week is up to plug in and remember. I have found that the world needs that part of me, so I’m sure it needs that part of you as much as you need yourself.