Querencia

Photo by Daniel Bask

I accidentally arrived an hour early to yoga this morning. My mind was whispering to me softly, “allow us this time to sit and be present, we really need it“. My meditation practice had been sporadic, and it was hard to start out. My mind was overbearing, latching on to each thought and getting toted away by the breeze.

I finally settled into my breath, and sank into a state so relaxed my body barely needed oxygen. My breath was so slow it felt as if it could sustain itself on nothing. I was so far inside myself, or rather, filling my whole body and beyond. It was wonderful to sense that place, that space of peace and acceptance within.

When I got lost aboard a runaway thought train, I would gently detach. At one point a voice spoke inside that simply said, “it’s okay, I accept you“, in a tone so much more gentle and loving than that in which it usually speaks. It made me gloriously sad that it wasn’t like that more often, and determined to give it the chance to emerge continuously.

There’s a spanish word, querencia, which refers to a place where one feels safe and at home. It’s used in bullfighting to describe the area of the ring where the bull goes to recoup, where he feels strongest. Barry Lopez describes it as “a place on the ground where one feels secure, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn—a place in which we know exactly who we are—the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs”. 

All too often we wrap layers around ourselves as a shield against the harsh realities we may encounter, and we hide our spirits from ourselves along the way. This leaves only the hope that one day, the best of who we are will manage to slice through and say to us tenderly, all the strength that you need is inside you, and it’s been here all along.  Inside us all we have a querencia, a place where we can repair ourselves and find the hope and strength to carry us nobly through life.

A favorite poem, to close.

“Graduation”

He told us, with the years, you will come
to love the world. 

And we sat there with our souls in our laps, 
and comforted them.

~Dorothea Tanning

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