Amazing Grace, 54 Salutations, Anjaneyasanas, and Blessings

On this, my 54th birthday, I sleep in a little, listening to the rain, and enjoying the quiet of a late fall morning...

I am meditating, in my sacred space, ten minutes after arising...

I read these wonderful words from Yogananda's Spiritual Diary:

"The Searcher of Hearts
wants only your sincere love...
When your love for Him
is as great as your attachment
to your mortal body,
He will come to you."

What beautiful words to read, first thing, on this, my birthday! I sit for an hour, communing deeply with the Divine, offering deep gratitude for my life, for the little things, for the people in it, and for the challenges as well...I make a special birthday request for all those I know who are currently in pain and suffering - and for a special friend...

I go to get coffee and then go down to the river...Several feet of drowned leaves hug the riverbanks. It has rained non-stop for days, but in this moment that I visit this river that has played such a significant role in my life, it has stopped. I step lightly into the river, and it is as far as I will get with performing river ablutions today...

Rain, on one's birthday is an auspicious gift, and this is the second year in a row it has rained on my birthday...Last year, at this time, I had not fully emerged from depression, but the seeds had been already sown for a tremendous change in the course and direction of my life. I had no idea then, the opportunities that would come my way, offered as sacred blessings...

I return home and am overwhelmed by the birthday messages on Facebook, and in my inbox - nearly 70 in the morning, and it continues to steadily grow throughout the day...

I receive beautiful gifts and cards from my husband, and flowers from a friend...I take two of the roses and put each one in a bud vase and place them on the altar in my sacred space...

At noon, I go down to do my 54 sun salutations - a beautiful custom I adopted at 50, from a friend who has done them for years. Today, they are modified, but I offer them none-the-less - punctuated by 54 anjaneyasanas - the "signature pose" of Anusara Yoga, chosen by John Friend, because it exemplifies devotion - which is the heart of this practice...

I place my mat down over the small canvas labyrinth that I have, and begin my practice to Tanmayo's rendition of "Amazing Grace," which I wrote about in my blog entry of October 31st. I listen to my current favorite playlist of yoga songs, including songs by Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal, and a dear friend's rendition of "The Water is Wide," among others...

I begin by offering gratitude for the gift of life, and the many blessings received...Somewhere during the flow of my practice, I close my eyes, and at times slow down, savoring the experience, and at other times I get lost in the practice. It is not pain-free - for yoga and daily life and movement has not been that for a long time. But I release, and let go, knowing that I am much greater than this body, and that the Divine and I are embracing in a Sacred Dance...

I do not necessarily focus on the individual years anymore, as I once did, but at 4, I think of beginning to awaken to my life's mission, and at 14, I think of a special child, now becoming a young woman...At 24, I think of my son...at 34 and 44, other memories arise...

I begin to tire at 35, but soldier on, until coming to 50 - a pivotal year in my life...These last few salutations are much slower, more conscious and deliberate...

I finish and surrender my body to the earth, in savasana - in corpse pose - at the center of the labyrinth - again, to the tune of "Amazing Grace" by Tanmayo - which begins and ends my playlist...

I am exhausted, but satisfied that I completed my salutations. I had no idea if I could do them. But they evolved beautifully, in a sequence that was perfect and appropriate for me...

The mail delivers the last of Yogananda's spiritual lessons. I have studied them for 3 and 1/2 years, and now this journey, too, will end. I receive the last lesson, on this, my 54th birthday, as I received my Kriya Lessons, on my 52nd birthday. There are no coincidences...

I have yet more to accomplish this day. At twilight, I will meditate on the labyrinth that I own - it is a smaller replica of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France, which I visited the day after my 50th birthday. I have walked replicas of this labyrinth for years - and was granted the grace to go Chartres and experience the labyrinth, where I felt the power of centuries of devoted prayers and supplications offered, embrace me in its center...

I light candles on a big cookie and brownie given to me by two beautiful friends, and sing "Happy Birthday" to myself - something I have never done, and then, smile, and laugh!

The day with end with dinner with my husband and son...It began, anchored in Spirit, with so many blessings bestowed, and so many more to unfold...

Comments

Lavonne said…
Happy belated birthday, Olga! So glad you had a wonderful day...may the week and year ahead bring just as much joy...
Olga Rasmussen said…
Thank you Lavonne, it was good!

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