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“Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvelous error!—

That a spring was breaking

Out in my heart.

I said: Along which secret aquaduct,

Oh water, are you coming to me,

Water of a new life

That I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvelous error!—

That I had a beehive

Here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

Were making white combs

And sweet honey

From my old failures.”

–Excerpt, “Last Night as I Was Sleeping,” Antonio Machado

The arrival of spring seems always to carry the feeling of a new beginning. The natural world is blooming, the days are longer—it’s not uncommon at this time of year to feel a sudden inspiration for new projects, habits, or ways of being in the world. Wonderful.

Integrate New Beginnings with the Old

And still, there is room to pay attention to what a new beginning means, and what we do with it. So often, I have looked at a new moon, a new season, or a new year as a way to “wipe the slate clean,” as though there could be a clean break between the past and the future. But I’m still me. We’re all still us. We still lived those days that are now our history. For better and for worse, we came from somewhere. Our new endeavors must necessarily include the learning we gained from past mistakes. We don’t have to throw away who we were in order to become who we want to be. We can integrate.

I love the way Antonio Machado describes this process in the poem above, stating that old failures can be woven into honeycomb, forming the cells that house the sweetness of new dreams. It feels like a call to show up for beauty and possibility in the realest way: as just ourselves, in these bodies, not dwelling too long on regret, instead weaving what we’ve learned into new efforts and new outcomes.

Still another metaphor exists in the earth housing all this new spring growth: the blooms of past seasons, perfect and imperfect, have fallen into the dirt, composted, created the very medium that makes all the new stuff possible. The most fertile ground is built from—excuse me—a lot of shit.  Exposed to enough air, sunlight, water and time, it all arrives at that fertile place. It doesn’t need to be anything different than what it is to grow a good garden.

We offer heartfelt thanks to all of you who contribute to the fertile ground of shared yoga practice!

Much love and thanks for reading,

Erin Hansbrough