(Maria Knott  took this photo in Keston Woods, Kent, England, in January, 2006. {{GFDL}})

Root Down Firmly

Holidays, for most people, hopefully, mean time with family. Holidays make me think about where I’m from, how far away I am from there now, what I set out to do when I left years ago, and whether or not I have accomplished those things. Ultimately, was it all worth it, being this far away from people that I love, who love me?

There are times on a Sunday when I aimlessly search Facebook and inevitably end up revisiting and commenting on tons of photos of my sisters and my parents and my aunts and uncles, photos that I’ve already made countless silly observations and jokes and stupid remarks about, later to get a text from one of my sisters, saying, “Wow, you really did miss us today, huh. You were blowin’ up the family pictures.” And sometimes I wake up in cold sweats, not knowing where I am, wondering do the positives to settle down so far away outweigh the negatives, am I missing out on too many things, celebrations, moving days, dinners, jokes, red velvet cakes, BBQs, heated political and religious discussions, arguments even? Then I think, my parents are young but they won’t always be, should I live closer to home, set my life up there now rather than later so that if I decide to head east again to take care of people it won’t be such a shock to the Colorado pace and lifestyle that I’ve grown accustomed to and that suits me so well?

Being nearly two thousand miles away from where I grew up has not been an easy decision. Not ever. I’ve lived in Colorado for almost ten years and it’s never been painless to continue to build my home so far from my roots. I am independent but I have asked myself many, many, many times over the years—is this right? There is no friction in my family that makes being away a safer choice for me. They are caring, wonderful people. Everyone supports everyone else’s decisions. There is very little yelling, next to no judgment, only love and thoughtfulness.

I come back to the same answer, and maybe it won’t always be this one, but for now it is: nope, I belong here. I like my life. I like my choices. I like me. I like what I do, where I live, the climate, my friends (and one of my sisters just paid me quite a compliment in the last couple of weeks, saying, “your friends…I haven’t seen anything quite like it ever,” meaning they are some amazing, special people.). So, I’ve gathered up an extended family of my own out here in colorful Collllllarrrradahhh.

There is a particular instructor at Core Power Yoga who speaks of roots and ties often; and, funny, he is like a tree-of-a-man himself: very tall, representing stability, breathing life into things around him. It’s his talk in class that helps to keep these thoughts of my family and local support system and goals forever circulating in my mind, blowing around to guide and shape the steps that I take every day. This week in his class, a couple days before Thanksgiving day, I was feeling wildly sick but felt an incessant urge to set down my mat anyway, knowing full well he would whoop me physically but would nurture these thoughts about family and where I come from. And even though I was under the weather, I felt stronger and life-like, more firmly rooted into my mat than I have in some time.

In Vasisthasana SIDE PLANK, with my left hand and the edge of my foot planted, I first briefly placed my right leg into SIDE PLANK TREE POSE and then raised it high, higher, until it felt like it was so lifted it was touching my extended right arm, rather than my arm reaching for my elevated right leg. I lightly grabbed my foot and completed the circuit between my right-side limbs yet maintained a line with my body that extended out straight from the crown of my head to my toes, but also created a full connection through my body into the earth beneath me.

Considering our roots, figuratively and literally: the body with its limbs and roots; daily life and its reach and roots. My roots are in my family and in the life that I have created for myself, branched out from them but never detached. My body stands firmly planted on the earth in Denver, with limbs that extend out, touch others who inhabit many other places, reach for what’s important, my feet ground me in space and time, but allow my independence and individuality to breathe life into what’s near and far.

NEVER MISS OUT