Last night I went to see the world premier of one of the best yoga movies I have ever seen. The first reason it was the best is it was made by a friend of mine and the second was there was not one yoga pose in it. The movie was raw, everyday, living your life yoga, which is what this blog is all about.
The doco follows the life of a ninety year old nun, Sister Loyola, from the order of the Sisters of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington. An avid gardener, the story is told through the lens of her garden and the seasons. It is a story of love, compassion, service, forgiveness, connection and faith.
Watching the film you can’t help be captivated by the beauty of her love for all she does, in her garden, how she helps others, while she is doing a crossword, how she tends and watches nature. She says ‘Love has the power to transform you, so never give up, especially on yourself’. She says she has loved many times in her life but hers is a different love, a tale of nurturing. In her day if you were an unwed mother you would be a ‘shame’ on society and oustracised. The nuns took in the babies and mothers of the unwed and nurtured them like a garden. They also took in the unwanted children, those with thalidomide or other defects. Her love was for all and how you looked or where you were from made no difference. Sister’s calling was to serve and love all her came her way.
During her life she was witness to the misdoings of the Catholic church towards children. This was a crisis of faith for her. How can you still love someone or a doctrine when what you see around you is the shadow side of humanity? When you spend your whole life in service to someone or an organisation and they let you down, how would you be? Her words are to see past their humanity and to forgive. Her spirituality is a bow to her resilience and hope that goodness in the world will be restored.
Her faith and spirituality is a belief and connection to something greater than herself. She sees it in her garden, she practices it with the people around her and she believes that when she transcends this life that there is something greater waiting for her. This is true spirituality. How you honour your spirituality is your choice, it could be in a garden or doing yoga. It could be in service to those around you or it could be practicising forgiveness.
Practice for today: How can you let your spirituality shine today? If you are a yoga practitioner put aside the poses and go one level deeper. If you are already in love like sister Loyola how can you help nurture this practice in others?
Gardening with Soul a documentary by Jess Feast