Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yoga Love: Nurture

*written on Sep. 18*

It’s been a while since my last yoga love post. The truth is I’ve been using my practice as an escape, instead of a chance to do something from a place of gratitude. Last night was different. I came down my mat to do more than just the physical aspect of yoga; the benefits sure went beyond it, too.

“Do you like being in love?”

Our Jivamukti teacher started the class with that question. She went on by telling us about the highs and lows of being “in love”, of how things always seem brighter when we look at it with love in our eyes. Passion, intensity, awareness, connection- those are only a few words we associate with love. And she wasn't referring to romantic love alone. She shared that it is possible to be in a constant state of being in love. Bhakti was the Sanskrit word she used to explain it. 

bhakti, (“devotion,” from Sanskrit bhaj, “to share,” “to love”), in Hinduism, a movement emphasizing the mutual intense emotional attachment and love of a devotee toward a personal god and of the god for the devotee. 

What struck me more was when she affirmed that the only way to be constantly in love is to nurture it.

Nurture love.

There are people, places and things in this life that make us more kind and loving. We have to constantly allow ourselves to gravitate to the parts of our lives that help us nurture the love that allows us to embrace the universe and, at the same time, let go of those that do not.

Before we started our Vinyasa, she asked us to dedicate the next 90 minutes of practice to whomever or whatever symbolizes this kind of love in our lives. It was one of the best practices I have had in a long while.

Nurture love and allow it to make all the difference.

Works on the mat, works in life.

Namaste. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"You never forget your first love"

Eleanor and Park is a boy-meets-girl story. A classic. Predictable, you may say. But the story happened when they were both too young to care about anything else. And that is its magic right there.

I couldn't put it down until the very last page. Thanks to my trusty reading light my parents had no idea I was up until 2am.

Reading Eleanor and Park was similar to taking a time machine ride to a decade ago. It was nostalgic, sweet, innocent and… new. A young love always feels brand new.

We’ve all heard it enough, ‘You never forget your first love.’ It sounds like a threat sometimes, like the memories will haunt you forever in an unpleasant way. But I believe that the real charm of a first love isn’t its being unforgettable; it is that it's recognizable. That there is no way you wouldn’t know you are in love for the very first time in your life. It is scary and unfamiliar and foolish but it is love, and you know.

‘Tell us why Romeo and Juliet survived four hundred years?’
‘Because… people want to remember what’s it’s like to be young? And in love?’

I remember how it is to be young and in love. I remember it so clearly I am thankful no one is watching me as I write this because I’m blushing like a giddy teenager right now.

I remember being in love, like really IN love.

I remember how it is to be selfish, immature and demanding. I remember being all that and worse because I wanted to test this person who promised I can never push him away. There were moments that seem funny now but were all so magnified then. Every touch, every glance, every misunderstanding. Like every moment was a tug of war between ‘this is real’ and ‘how can this be?’.

When he touched Eleanor’s hand, he recognized her. He knew.

If I had met him at a different phase in my life, I would like to believe that we will still recognize each other. That our souls would find out, somehow, that we belong to each other. That we would know. We’d meet, we’d talk and we’d fall in love. I wouldn’t love him any less. But I’m pretty sure I’d love him differently.

I want everyone to meet you. You’re my favorite person of all time.

Because he made me feel safe.

Because he was my getaway car from the supposedly inescapable years of doubting one’s self. Deep inside, I was clouded with insecurities. But he reminded me over and over how I should feel about myself with just the way he looked at me.

Because he was kind and patient and he held my heart at the palm of his hands like it was the only thing that could matter.

‘Did I ruin everything?’
‘Not. Possible.’

When something feels that good, beautiful and sacred, the likelihood of being hurt because of it is too far-fetched you just don’t think about it. There is nothing that can be more agonizing than not being together and the only reason for you not to be is if you fell out of love. And in the parameters of a first love, falling out of love is not a possibility. Falling out of love is the end of the world.

Being brave when you’re young is given. It compensates for all the things you don’t know. As adults, the equation is reversed in some way. We are brave only about things that we know.  And whoever knew everything there is about love?

Nothing before you counts. And I can’t imagine an after.

That’s the thing. He made me feel like there wasn’t any need for an after. I was naive enough to have faith in that. I felt so. Hence, I believed so. 

There’s no reason to think we’re going to stop loving each other.

Things are a lot different now. Life is bigger than high school and it’s a good thing. Although sometimes, adult matters get in the way of faith and love and romance. Worrying pushes you to be jaded and pessimistic. But once in a while, reality gets a little blurry and we hold hands and we talk and we fall in love, in THAT way, all over again.

But it’s up to us. It’s up to us not to lose this.

And we didn’t.

And never will.

To my very own Park,

Thank you for not stopping.
Everything else I want to tell you can be summed up in just three words long. :) 

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