My desk is a colorful explosion of receipts, torn pages from cooking magazines, books I am reading or plan to read next, this past month of drawings gifted from my kids, various bottles of essential oils, chicken scratches of lesson plan ideas, a mystery pile I haven’t unearthed in a while, and in preparation for this weekend’s workshop a large poster of the skeletal system lays atop many of the piles. There is just enough space for my keyboard and my water bottle. It’s a mess. My mess.

Some of you can relate and others of you are itchy with the thought of this kind of mess. The truth is this kind of mess is one of my favorite uncomfortable places. It means I am on the verge of action.

Much like the desk piles I feel energy is bottling up and will spill over soon. Tomorrow there is dedicated time for me to sort, organize, put away and respond appropriately, or at least reshuffle the piles. I will dust the desk and wipe down the computer and knick knacks. I anticipate the gratification I will receive seeing more wood of the desk and of finding order through handling all of these little aspects of my inbox. Trusting in this process allows me to be o.k. with the mess just a while longer. This act of cleaning is a physical way I purify my space.

I’ve been reflecting on my yoga practice quite a bit lately. There are many words I can use to describe it’s evolution and current place. But as of lately the word that rings most true is: PURIFY.

My mind often feels as cluttered as my desktop. My emotions can feel scattered. My calendar feels chaotic. Yoga graces me with a quiet space. The magical rectangle of rubber yoga mat is where I can get out of my head and into my body. In this space of marrying breath with movement there is clarity. There is freedom. There is a return to home.

Of course little disruptions sneak into my yoga practice-I forget to put my phone out of sight and seeing the screen light up sets me wondering. I catch sight of one (or six) of my children’s toys poking out from under the furniture and my inner dialogue revs up. I notice my toe nail polish is starting to chip and there goes my focus, etc. I’m willing to bet you’ve been met with a thousand of your own tiny distractions during your practice, too.

Then I rededicate myself to the next breath and feel my body settles into the next pose. I am clear again. Back to the count of ‘one’.

Yoga has been a long time companion to help me purge what doesn’t serve. Like throwing away the old receipts on my desk and entering those post it notes into my computer. Cleaning up. It is an endless task this cleaning up — in life and in spirit. I feel grateful to have my mat and my practice to return to as a way to clean my metaphysical house, clear the cobwebs in my brain, to exchange the physical aches and fatigue in my body for the flow of healing movement.

I’ve heard many times the Hindu dedication stories of Ganesha (depicted as an elephant) who uses his long trunk to clear the path and sweep away obstacles. Even in the jumbled mix of items on my desk I can clearly see the Ganesha carving a friend gifted me. This little statue reminds me that I can turn to each breath as a way to purify and make clear my path. If only I could persuade that little statue to sweep it’s trunk across my desk while I sleep to clear the disarray, but then I know I would chance missing something in that process. It’s my ‘mess’ (my desk and my life) and I relish in the changing seasons of cleaning and clutter.
I witness the cycles of my energy building and releasing in my yoga practice, mimicking the phases of the moon. Sometimes I feel bright and full, powerful. Other times, I experience feeling slight and quieter. I open to the newness of a fresh day, another cleansing yoga practice, and a clean (or messy) desk.

Blessings to you on all your messes and the many ways you purify yourself on your yoga mat and off.

Originally written for & posted in The Introspective Yogi, August 2016