Pick up the Pieces

Photograph of conch shells.

Like many people I have a collection or two. As a child I collected lots of things, stuffed animals, magic markers, rocks, the usual fare. Most of these collections lost their luster over time and I am now at a point where I try to bring fewer things I can’t  consume or use into my life and home, not more. Enter the conch shell.

I don’t know when I saw the first one that captured my attention. I’m pretty sure though that I was a full fledged adult. All the examples I found on the beaches of Long Island were broken revealing their perfect spiral interiors. Then one day I found one that was intact. It was so beautiful and I added it to my collection. I think one of the aspects of the conch interiors that attracted me is that they remind me so much of people. Our outward appearances have so very little to do with our inner landscapes, biologically, emotionally, spiritually. The same could be said of the inside of hand knits and so many other items.

Recently, while engaging in the blissful activity of daydreaming I realized that these shells represent another metaphor for the human condition. Granted, many things fill that position. These metaphors fuel our imagination and help us to make sense out of an existence that often needs explaining. 

Looking at my collection I realized that my shells were all broken, as we mostly are in one way or another. I noticed that they were all broken in different ways, as we mostly are in one way or another. I noticed that I had one that was whole. Was this the control group? No matter, even my whole one has flaws, whatever that means if you’re looking at shells or people.

Pondering my shells, I thought about my practice and teaching and whether or not Yoga has the potential to help us see our pieces differently. Can we through breath, physical practice, mantra and awareness acknowledge and accept our flaws in all their beauty? Can we have fun doing it? The practice holds this power and more. Feel free to explore and always be curious.

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