My 9 year-old son is an avid rock and crystal collector. So much so that on a recent trip to Colorado, I told him he could get one reasonably priced souvenir to commemorate the trip. What he chose was a citrine quartz from the gift shop at the mouth of a cave that we toured. Classic Reese, I thought to myself.
I’ve always loved this fascination of his, so for Christmas his dad and I gave him a rock polisher. With the kit came a handful of very unassuming rocks. They were filthy, quite frankly, and looked pretty much like the gravel that lines our drive way. I had a hard time imagining how these throw-away rocks were going to polish up into anything remotely impressive.
This was my first foray into the world of rock polishing, so I was surprised when my husband explained to me that the rock polisher needed to tumble the rocks not for hours, but for weeks on end. Round and around it went in our laundry room, hiding away the slow transformative process the rocks were undertaking thanks to the constant friction of tumbling sand and water.
When it was finally time to open up the canister, I was floored to see that what had indeed emerged were not the same sad lump of rocks that went in, but incredibly colorful, complex, and deeply varied stones and crystals. Pinks, blues, reds, and greens - all of this magnificence hidden away for untold amounts of years under layers and layers of detritus. These seemingly ordinary rocks turned stunning beauties are now some of my favorite in my family’s collection.
This got me thinking how we are all like these rocks. We go through life accumulating unhealed traumas and wounds that calcify like the layers of dirt and debris on top of our magnificent bodies and souls. We forget that we are our own unique embodiment of Divine Love here in our bodies, here on this Earth. We begin to believe that we are nothing special, that our protective coping strategies are what define us, that there is something wrong with us for not being any different.
This may be an obvious metaphor for some, but for me it is nothing short of shining miracle that a yoga practice rooted in loving kindness is like the most effective of rock polishers. The transformation is not quick or instant, but requires steady commitment to the process of polishing away what keeps us prisoner to our traumas. In relearning who we are - what Divine Love says we are - we begin to see ourselves clearly once again. We begin to see our bodies as our greatest allies in our healing, and not a hinderance to achieving something better. We begin to see our brilliantly beautiful and unique selves emerge once more, like the dirt filtering away to reveal the most magnificent diamond.
I’m so grateful that my life conspired to show this life giving practice to me, to show me a way of throwing off what keeps my brilliance and freedom hidden. It is my greatest privilege to share this gift with others.