One of the tenants of ayurveda is the idea of “the microcosm of the macrocosm.” We see patterns repeated throughout the entire universe, from the grandest scale to the cellular level. Upon hearing this, half of me thought, “well, duh” while the other half exclaimed, “genius!”
Beyond health, wellness and nature, the microcosm of the macrocosm helps to explain not only the world, but my experience in it. (For all my friends who just googled it and prayed for my salvation, I promise you, Jesus was a huge fan of the microcosm of the macrocosm. All those teachings on seeds and death and life and fruit? It wasn’t just a sermon illustration – it was his understanding of the universe.)
In yoga (bless your hearts, my Christian friends), the breath is kind-of-a-big-deal. Not just in the “you’ll pass out if you hold your breath for too long” way, but it’s also a microcosm of the macrocosm. For example, I was just reading about breathing exercises while experiencing anxiety. (Someone may be a tad high strunnnnngggg right now.) The suggestion was to breathe in for a count of four, pause, and exhale for a count of eight. It seems that when anxious, it’s best to take in only what you need and let go of a little more. At the cellular level, our bodies need to pry our white knuckles from control to bring our heart rates back to normal. [*Play punches you in the arm*] I KNOW! Fascinating.
Which, only 3 introductory paragraphs later, brings me to my actual point.
In breathing, we inhale and we exhale. Take in, let out. Climb up, descend. In my own poolside life this summer, I see it with littles who discovered joy when jumping in: run, jump in, get to the ladder, get back out.
So let me tell you a little secret I’m discovering, thanks to the wisdom of my teachers: don’t overlook the pause in the middle. Take note of it. The pause isn’t the breathing – the taking in and letting out. It’s not the climb or the jump. It’s that bit of freefall in between. It’s the moment of transitioning from one to the other. It separates the up from the down.
I’ve been living a pause in the middle for about 2 weeks now, thanks to a vacation interlude and now a week of packing. We’ve wrapped up the school year and jobs and said many of the good-byes, yet we’ve not yet touched down in the water of new beginnings.
The best thing we can do for this middle moment is take in the view. Soak up the last moments with our beloveds here rather than sit idly by in anticipation of the newness of our upcoming life. Notice.
Because that’s what keeps us jumping, isn’t it? The way we feel before we hit the water sends us back to the ladder for more. It may be slightly scary. We brace ourselves to avoid the pain of belly flop. Eventually we get the guts to try a few spins or kicks as we leap to make the most of it.
So, here’s to allowing the pause. May we jump. May we land. And may we notice that place in the middle.