I read something today about spirals which is the inspiration for this blog. It reminded me of a discussion I had once with a teacher of mine. In considering this shape I wonder at all of the meaning of this common form. In yoga the other day I spoke of spirals in our bodies.
As we begin to develop in the womb, our life connection is the spiral umbilical cord. We have spiral waves of blood flow, and the cochlea in our ear is spiral shaped. The spiraling of energy bodies.
We live on a planet in a spiral galaxy. The spiral symbol can be found in the art of most cultures. Carl young said, “the spiral is an archetypal symbol that represents the cosmic force.” Spirals are associated with cycles- of time. Of nature. Of life.
Some suggest spirals represent our spiritual journey, of growing, and learning, swirling but never in a straight line. Some comment that on this journey we pass the same point over and over again but experience it from a different perspective. Some say it represents,then, coming into Being.
In nature, spirals can be found in the patterns of seeds, in leaves on a stem, in shells. In the pinecone. In hurricanes and tornadoes.
I learn great lessons from nature and I think about the spiraling of great storm forces and equally as powerful but expressed mildly, in patterns of seeds. The fern that unfolds from a spiral as it emerges from the ground and curls up in the same shape when it is drying and dying as its expression of being. Continuous…spirals none-the-less, spin both ways.
Tonight I sat with my grandpa, as I had sat and held my grandma’s hand, 17 years ago as she was dying. Grandpa was propped in a chair, slumped over. He was breathing, but unresponsive. And then he’d stop breathing. He couldn’t open his eyes, he couldn’t squeeze my finger. This was just like it was with my grandma. I remember how I felt back then, each time she’d cease breathing I’d panic and search the halls for a nurse, even though I knew she wasn’t to be revived. I left her side, each time, to do this. Tonight, as I sat with Grandpa, and held his hand, my heart wasn’t racing. I didn’t panic this time. I didn’t hold my breath. Instead, I said in the same voice I use when guiding a yoga class, “Grandpa…breathe.” And he would inhale a giant breath and begin again.
The spiral climb through life.
I left grandpa and came home to write, shortly after he became conscious and asked for dinner, thanking me for coming and graciously accepting an ice cream sandwich before being put back into bed. Grandpas got a fire in him not easy to put out. He’ll be 100 years old before the close of this year. I doubt that my yoga breath request had much of an impact tonight. But then again, maybe a calming energy was nice for him in whatever place he was when it didn’t seem he was with me. I know I experienced that moment more fully, more aware, as I kneeled by his side. And breathed.
The spiral, our paths of life, or our paths of lifes. Lately, I’ve had opportunities along my path to experience from a different perspective. I’m grateful, because it has helped me to know that the secret mysteries of life, if we are open to experiencing, help us on the swirling, continuous journey, of coming into Being.