It was the best birthday present I could have given myself: an hour to just be. There I was in restorative yoga, lying on my purple mat, posed to surrender to stillness.

In case you haven’t tried it, restorative yoga is a sublime form of deep rest that releases tension on every level.

I love my local studio’s class, but I don’t go much. The poses are deceptively simple, so often I convince myself I could do them at home.

But of course I am a recovering perfectionist and workaholic, so you can imagine the result of that rationalization.

Surrender to Stillness, yoga

On my birthday, though, I gave myself the gift of structure and support. I listened as my wise, loving friend and teacher Ashley guided our group until we came to supported child’s pose.

Once there, I leaned forward and curled up into a resting position, turning my face turned toward the front of the studio.

Ordinarily if I faced the front I’d feel late afternoon sunlight on my face, but that Sunday I heard the rush of wind and the thrum of rain on the awning instead.

From Relaxation to Freaking Out

I was feeling deeply, wonderfully relaxed … and then I remembered an upcoming doctor’s appointment.

{Here future Caroline breaks into the narrative to offer reassurance: I’m okay. Just needing some medical care and feeling thankful to receive it.}

Medical tests have a way of exposing our human vulnerability, don’t they? When I thought about my scheduled appointment, a wave of emotion crested and broke over me as I lay there on my knees.

Though of course I didn’t speak aloud, I called out the truth with my mind and heart: “I’m scared. Please help me, I’m scared.”

I flung those words out into the universe like a grappling hook, hoping they would reach something steady.

They did.

In that moment I sensed the Ground of Being beneath me. Call it Mother Earth, call it God, call it whatever you want. When I say “God” I mean a Presence that is unconditional love, and that’s what this solidity was.

The Ground of Being

It was real and it was sacred and I knew that I could trust it. So while remaining physically still, I let raw, unfiltered thoughts and feelings pour out of me:

“I’m scared.”
“It’s not fair.”
“I’m freaking out.”

The Ground of Being took every ounce of fear and grief and anger and subsumed it all the way the earth outside the studio was absorbing the rain.

Regardless of what I threw out, it kept giving me back the same simple, beautiful words: I love you.

I’m scared. I love you.
It’s not fair. I love you.
I’m freaking out. I love you.

It was relentless, really. No matter what I said, the response was only love.

At first I was fighting not to cry, but that was a losing battle. Tears ran down my face, over my cheeks, and onto the forest-green yoga bolster.

Yet I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want anything but this specific, shimmering peace.

Surrender to Stillness

When we’re given something beautiful like that in this life – something that fills our cups to overflowing – it’s only right that we share it.

So this is my prayer for you today, dear friends. I hope that you surrender to stillness, that you make time and space to say yes to yourself.

And within that space I hope that you tell the truth about everything that you’re feeling. And in the silence that follows, I hope that you hear the answer that is always there for you.

You’re anxious? I love you.
Lonely? I love you.
Overwhelmed? I love you.

May you be met with love, no matter what.


What’s your preferred way to surrender to stillness? Join the conversation in the comments!

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