"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!"
I thought of this poem today and had to share it with y'all. The message here is simple and often-repeated: when we're children, we are fascinated so easily by the world. Something as simple a rainbow makes the heart leap up with excitement. Wordsworth wants to continue being inspired by nature throughout his adult life.
It's a nice sentiment, and I think most of us would agree that childlike fascination with the world is something we should all aspire to. But how often do we actually let that happen?
It's the end of the semester for me, and this is always a time of mixed emotions. There's the anticipation of a long summer with plenty of stretches of idyll time. I can't help craving that when I'm in the middle of a stressful semester and stress levels are as high as the stacks of papers. But I simultaneously feel some apprehension. The routine will be gone--everything I rely on to give shape to my week will disappear overnight. As someone who needs a bit of routine and order, I'm finding my heart "leaping up" with anxiety from time to time, rather than the joy Wordsworth writes about.
So, today, on the third-to-last day of work of the semester, I found my thoughts bubbling up with apprehension. To combat this, I sought out a colleague to eat lunch with and worked on turning myself over to the conversation instead of dwelling on how I felt. As we were walking back to our offices, we both noticed how alive the campus felt, despite it being quiet and empty due to finals. The clouds were evaporating, the grass seemed fragrant and richly green, and the spring colors were so vivid. Our hearts were "leaping up"--this time, in a good way!
OK. How to tie this all in to yoga? ;-) One thing is that without the yoga, I doubt I'd have the awareness to know that something was amiss when I feel anxiety about the end of the semester. I'd take that as "normal."
But because I leave class so calm and wrung out, the tables are turned. I know what being in the moment feels like! Then, those moments of apprehension are correctly identified as "abnormal," as something to be worked on. Working it all out is an endless task, but without the ability to identify what the mind is churning on, we can't make progress. And our hearts don't leap up at the rainbows!