Me to Deb: Ready for some yoga?
Deb: Have you guys started?
Me: I never found anyone. I'm still game.
Deb: Ok. I just need to dress. Where do you wanna meet?
Me: I'll meet you at your door.
Ten minutes later, I knocked on the door of room 214. Our annual Southwest ANWA writers retreat is in full swing. Our traditional location in the Arizona mountain community of Show Low (so named because of the outcome of a game of High/Low during the days of the Wild West) is under pre-evacuation orders due to a horrendous forest fire. So here we are in Chandler, Arizona, at the comfortable Homewood Suites by Hilton. Not a bad gig, all things considered. There's air conditioning and a pool, so we're good. Who cares if it's 115 degrees outside?
I found a wide space in a hallway just off the stairs that fit our yoga needs perfectly. Deb had never done yoga before so I was able to share my limited knowledge and great enthusiasm. I love yoga. Moving through the poses wakes up my mind and releases stress all over my body. But back to my story.
Imagine two 50 something, just-a-little-fluffy grandmas in yoga pants huffing and puffing through sun salutations and warrior poses. Then right when we moved onto our backs, grabbed our toes and start kicking our legs in laughing baby style, a guy on a cell phone opened the door just behind us.
"What the...? There's a couple of ladies doing yoga in the hallway and..." His voice faded as he entered the stairwell and the door slammed shut behind him.
Deb and I looked at each other, our eyes wide, and burst out laughing. We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks. It could have been worse. We could have been doing downward dog.
The timing for this retreat couldn't be better. There's a reason why moving ranks in the top ten of most stressful life events. The physical exertion and monotony of packing and unpacking boxes had driven me beyond cranky and well into full on crazy. I even dreamed about myself as an old woman, well into my ninety's, shuffling between row upon endless row of dusty stacks of unlabeled boxes.
When I'm in that place, I have to stop and drop. I pray for strength, and assurance. I ask questions and more questions. And right when I get to that point when I feel the ground giving way and there's nothing left to hang on to - when I really let go - thinking this is it, I'm going to die, the Lord sends me exactly what I need to land on my feet and continue moving forward.
I found an analogy of this while reading Alma 57-58 in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Helaman sends a letter to Moroni and tells him about the dire situation of his army. His little band of 2060 stripling warriors, having been called to do things they had never done before, had fought valiantly - "as if with the strength of God." But they found themselves in critical circumstances, trying to provide food and shelter for their men and controlling the prisoners they had taken in battle. They suffered hunger and thirst and every one of them had sustained multiple injuries in battle. This went on for several months -
...even until [they] were about to perish for the want of food...Therefore [they] did pour out [their] souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen and deliver [them] out of the hands of [their] enemies...Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances, that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him. (Alma 58:10-11)And they were delivered. Not one of those 2060 was lost in those battles.
When I let go and "pour out [my] soul in prayer to God" He sends me assurances. He speaks peace to my mind and grants me great faith and hope that I will pass through my challenge successfully. I can take courage and move forward with determination and conquer the challenge I face. I might experience some bumps and bruises along the way, but with a steadfast hope in Christ and His infinite Atonement, I can do all things knowing that no matter what happens, everything will work out, even when it's something as mundane as unpacking and organizing boxes (paper cuts are a real struggle, by the way).
That said, and since this is technically a blog by writers for writers - even though I rarely post anything about writing - I've decided to take a metaphorical bungee jump (inspired by my daughter who recently bungee jumped over the Nile River). I have the chance to pitch my book to an editor during the ANWA Time Out for Writers Conference in September. I've already started climbing the ladder and I'm not going to look down. I'm going to keep praying and working and moving forward. I am going to fly off that ledge with my eyes wide open. Just watch me!
Life is magnificent.