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  • Kelly Marks

The In-Between

Sitting on our mats in the cool morning air, pausing for a moment before moving into our first downward facing dog of the morning, we waited as our yoga teacher spoke. Usually at the beginning of class, the teacher will speak about setting an intention for our practice. We try to keep in our minds what we hope to get out of the class. It can be calmness, peace, love, whatever we are in need of that day, in that moment.


This particular morning, she urged us to look at the different transitions in life. She explained that during these in-between moments, when we are leaving one phase and heading into a new one, are the times when we should be slowing down, and yet we often speed up.


Take the change of the seasons for example. In our hurry to get to fall, we sometimes ignore the last vestiges of summer. We miss the beauty of the last dahlias because we are so focused on getting to the pumpkins and chrysanthemums. We long for cooler weather so desperately that we scoff at the last really warm afternoons and all they bring. Sometimes we don’t even notice that we’ve gone through a change until it is over.


However, transitions are especially easy to see in the garden. Winter - Shifting from the cold earth to days warm enough to plant. Spring - Changing from the miracle of the seeds once planted deep in the soil to suddenly bursting forth and reaching their limbs to the sky. Summer - Moving to the time of hard work, the sweat and toil of picking the harvest from the vine in 100 degree weather. Fall - Finally making the change from verdant fullness to the dying back of the vine. The time to tidy up and put the garden to bed once more.


I just told a dear friend recently that I’m not big on poetry. I explained that I don’t typically have the patience for it. Ironic as I talk about slowing down. But one verse that has always touched me is from Rumi.


The early breeze before dawn

is the keeper of secrets.

Don’t go back to sleep!

It is time for prayer, it is time to ask for

what you really need.

Don’t go back to sleep!

The door of the One who created the world

is always open.

Don’t go back to sleep!


The early breeze before dawn - that time of transition from night to day- is a time that has much to teach us. Don’t go back to sleep. Slow down. Pay attention! It is time for prayer, to ask for what you really need, meaning we’re headed in the direction of our needs, but we’re not there yet. Transition. Slow down. Pay Attention!


I wish I knew what secrets are held in the transitions, but I don’t. Maybe the first lesson, the first secret, is simply not to rush, to pay attention. And that’s a good place to start.






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