Lighting the Chalice

-photo from a morning walk, before the snow.

I practice yoga, and am constantly renewing my intention to practice 6 days per week.  It gets waylaid, this intention, by life and illness and the needs of young children, but I keep coming back to it.  Like any practice worth its salt, yoga gives back in equal measure what I give to it.  So each morning when I rise unforgivably early to step onto my mat, it takes a certain amount of stubborn determination.  One thing I am good at is being stubborn.

But then I am renewed, refreshed.  In so many ways, some of them physical, others are spiritual.  It’s hard to see the changes from day to day or from week to week, but when I look at the arc of my life over the last 2 decades, I can clearly see that I have been reborn and renewed again and again through the practice of yoga.  When I have been at my most desperate, I have stepped onto my mat with a tattered dignity and woefully frayed sense of self, and just bared my soul to the physical practice.  I have always left my mat with more than what I brought.  Looser in my bones, warmer in my skin, more at ease.  Over the years, the personal growth is astounding, if only because I had so very much to learn and didn’t even know the half of it.  Little by little, practice by practice, the shell of my broken heart was pierced and my courage to face myself as I am right now grew.

Deborah Santoro

March, 2012

-this was written for lighting the chalice at my church this Sunday.

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One thought on “Lighting the Chalice

  1. and although I neglected to say it in church, I thought this was lovely. After reading the book “Stretch” by Neal Pollack (which you absolutely must read, and can borrow from us) I finally understood that I can do yoga for the sake of being a better person (actually, more fully myself, with a better ability to cope with and be joyous in daily life) instead of for the purpose of being a lithe, awe-inspiring pretzel. What a difference this mental shift has made. And your chalice lighting speaks so well to this integration of yoga into a life. Your humility is lovely.

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