WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Lean in to Life

By Tara Humphries

“Uncross your arms, lean all the way in. Love is everywhere.”
—Rev. Gretchen Haley

Several Kundalini practitioners, dressed in white, lift their arms as they chant

I recently found myself in a Kundalini yoga class with a new teacher. I'm a UU, but Kundalini Yoga is my spiritual practice. I’m wearing my white cotton clothing, my head wrap, sitting on my natural fiber blanket, moving contently through the exercises with care and focus and precision. All of a sudden, one of the exercises brought up a whole bunch of resistance in me.

“Sit in easy pose with your legs crossed, arms out to the side, hands in fists,” the teacher instructed. Okay, I can do that.

“And begin to move your arms in circles as fast as you can.” It was challenging but doable. I closed my eyes and focused my attention at the brow-point, the third eye.

“Now,” she said, “begin to chant GOD GOD GOD GOD as you vigorously circle your arms.”

Oh boy, I thought, Here we go. Of course it couldn’t just be arm circles.

I began to chant with her but my thoughts kept inviting themselves in to interrupt me. Why do I have to chant GOD?

“God, God, God…” What do I even mean by god?

“God, God, God…” Is everyone else actually saying this out loud?

“God, God, God…” This is weird. I wonder if people are looking at me.

“God, God, God…” Okay, Tara, just get over it.

“GOD! GOD! GOD!,” I shouted. I began to smile, twirling my arms as fast as my shoulder socket would allow…giggling, then laughing. I don’t know if you’re out there but if you are I hope you’re laughing too because this is freaking awesome. “GOD!! GOD!!"

Then we settled into a comfortable, silence. The edges of my mouth had settled in up by my eyes. And there was this deep joy, that maybe could have floated me right up off my natural fiber blanket and into the supposed heavens.

I'm beginning to learn that when we lean in—into the awkwardness, discomfort, and random hilarity of life in the very moment that life invites us forward—we can tap into the most holy, real, enveloping love that we could ever imagine.


Holy love that swirls within us and around us, that holds us together in each and every moment, we thank you for the moments of pure joy... for the sweet nectar of life beyond the comfort zone. May we lean on you with trust and adoration when we Lean In to life, and may our hearts fill with the gifts that brave and vulnerable action bring forth. Blessed be!

About the Author

Tara Humphries

Tara Humphries (she/hers) is a Unitarian Universalist minister and trauma-informed yoga teacher who draws inspiration from the radical teachings of Jesus and the holy mess that is community life. She currently serves as Assistant Minister at the Eliot Church (UUA/UCC) in Natick, MA.


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