Clearing the Way

By Laura Grace Ford


Here at the EcoYoga Centre where I live in Scotland, we work WITH nature – not against it.

Indeed, it is the river’s flow that we harness to provide us with all our electricity.  You see, water, itself, is a force of nature we understand and respect. And I have seen firsthand both the tremendous power it provides – but also, the destruction it can levy on any obstacle in its way.

And why the natural drainage ditch that runs along side the track that leads up to my little wee cabin is critical, so the rain water can run off and keep secure our only road. But wouldn’t you know, one day lightening struck and left half a big, old oak tree lying across our only track.

So we had no choice … and after a few hours with a chainsaw to unblock the access track along with a few young men dragging the tree to the trackside, we watched the debris slowly slide down the slope, following a drainage that was only supposed to allow water to pass. Eventually the debris piled up and that’s how it happened.

My drains got blocked. Rainstorm after rainstorm, the water continued to come as I watched my only track get washed away. Until I could sit and watch no more …

With my bare hands, I got to work digging back out. I started at the bottom, slowly making my way upwards. Dragging out the leaves and mud and the stones from the track itself, I first made a dam. By using the debris blocking my drain to reinforce the walls of my protective dam and strengthen a new pathway for the rainwater.

Hours passed. Days passed. My fingers ached and my fingernails hurt from being pulled backwards, handful after handful of dirt. I was soaked through to the skin, more than once, but I didn’t let it stop me. I just kept going. One handful at a time.

I cleared and I dug and I cleared some more. Working slowly and steadily. Even as much as I’d already done, the job ahead was enormous. I felt overwhelmed and even scared. So I stopped looking ahead and kept my eyes and mind set to the moment. Though, occasionally I would stop and admire my hard work, which was already paying off. I smiled to myself, watching the water now running freely down my newly cleared-out drain. I smiled at the effectiveness of the very simple process. I smiled at the ease that everything flows when working properly, as it should be. I smiled at the simplicity of working with nature and not against it.

I left the worst until last. Eventually, I had to face the fallen tree. The brambles that had grown over the mess, making it an inaccessible tangle of thorns and stems, branches, tree stumps, dead leaves and rotting matter, all thrown into one big mess – effectively stopping the water from running its natural course. Instead, the water was forced to take a different route, carving out an enormous scar down the middle of the road, making travel now treacherous.

I couldn’t help but notice now, how the little things really add up. The debris we’d first removed was only meant to be left temporarily – not the years it had been there. No. Problems don’t go away and in fact, only grow to be really BIG problems when left ignored. How much of this damage could we have avoided if only we’d dealt with it straight away? Instead, we let it build and it build, as brambles take over, leaves fall and rot, eventually making it impossible to even access the original point of damage.

I slowly started to clear. I cut back the brambles, pulled out the branches, and rolled the tree stumps. Like a little beaver, I used the debris to finish my dam. It worked. The water began to flow once more, quickly and easily down the hillside, towards the river, through the loch, and on its way back to freedom … the ocean.

Just like that. So simple. Once the debris was removed and there was no resistance, the water changed course instantaneously.

Which is, of of course, what we are doing in our daily practice. We are clearing our internal drains – our nadis. Allowing energy to move naturally and free of debris. By coming to our practice each and every day, meeting ourselves, facing ourselves head on, small problems don’t grow to be big ones. And sure, it’s sometimes overwhelming and even scary when we see some of the damage that’s there. Just keep digging … we’re already making progress.

I’m making progress. I think back to a storm of another kind had hit me and the damage it did to my heart. How trying to repair the damage caused more damage; emotional reactions and regrettable decisions, emotional blow outs. How not clearing up the mess straight away caused even more damage still just like the leaves and branches piling up. How not facing the situation head on and saying what needed to be said or accepting things how they really are or not forgiving or blaming others for our own flaws causes us more pain – the brambles growing over the mess.

We can try and hide from the pain with the use of alcohol or other substances or addictions, making the problem worse instead of better – changing the route of our behaviour in the future to an even more destructive path. Slowly over the years, as we cling onto the past hurt, we block our own path towards freedom.

So you see, our practice really IS the process of clearing the drains. Slowly, carefully, diligently. With patience and love.

It may not be easy. It may hurt. You might ache from the effort. The results may not come straight away. You may become overwhelmed at the task in hand. But by slowly working away, on your own, day after day: finally you begin to see the water flowing freely. You begin to work WITH yourself and not against. Your hard work starts to pay off and you can stand back and see just how much you have achieved. By doing the work, you are actually changing the course of the water. Changing the behaviour of tomorrow. Rebuilding positive samskaras. Ones that will serve you and is your path of least resistance.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.  Rumi

Words by Laura Grace || Images by Meghan Powell

Laura Grace is a rebel without a cause. Tired of numbing herself to life, she decided to give up all bad behaviours and start vibrating on a different frequency. She grabbed life with both hands and started living by the seat of her pants! Choosing to engage in life and fully be a part of the miracle that it is, she is busy practicing working with the law of attraction and manifesting everything that she wants. Laura Grace now lives, plays, teaches (and digs) at the EcoYoga Centre in Scotland.