Into the mystery, egg tempera painting by Daniel Ambrose of a moonrise at Marineland with baby turtle

I started practicing yoga three months ago. It’s hard and hot. Learning a new discipline parallels the experience of dedicating myself to study painting decades ago. Challenge, concentration, frustration. In addition, breathing, balance, and alignment compete for my attention. I fall over a lot.

I heard a yoga studio was heated and darkened. Imagining a simmering room full of human origami chanting New Age notions prevented me from entering a class. Instead I fell back on my default procrastination mode, delving into research. I watched endless videos and read books seeking primary source. What is yoga all about? Where did it originate? What are the benefits, the dangers? Yeah. . . I over think things.  Or perhaps, polymathic curiosity made me prepare before I entered the yogic jungle.

I tried practicing on my own. Twisting into a pose one day, I fancied myself getting locked in. Could I get stuck? unable to unravel myself? I imagined myself rolling around balled up on the floor. Frozen. I need one of those medical alert tags solitary dwellers wear. Only mine would say, Help! I’ve folded myself up and I’m stuck!

Eventually lack of pride overcame procrastination. Feeling more prepared I joined a class and immersed myself into the mystery.

I discovered yoga is like practicing art. A healthy form of personal expression. A yoga studio is like an art studio—a room full of  sharing, caring, albeit glistening people. Yoga is beautiful.

Concentrating on breathing and alignment while stretching into ever deeper poses, is akin to mind work in painting. Requiring focus to achieve higher mental realms, with the added benefit of toning my body.  I am gaining clarity and channeling this newfound awareness into my painting.

This new egg tempera painting, Into the Mystery, is a manifestation of my thinking. Life is passing. Life continues. Is there any clarity in all this ambiguity? As Frost wrote: We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows. Endless questions. Peace of mind is in the process, enjoying the mystery, in the beautiful moments of life.

Some journeys in life you must take on your own. Even if your path is not viewed as “normal.” Joy and a sense of purpose pave the way meant for you. Take a swan dive into the mystery and figure it out as you go. Odds are there will be fellow travelers ready to embrace you.

If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be.
Maya Angelou

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