Well friend, we've come to the edge of a new frontier and this is all unknown to all of us. As we all try to navigate the murky waters of information, data, advice, policy, and many more inputs on our behavior in the coming weeks, let's make sure that we are also listening to that deep inner voice that is whispering (or maybe shouting, depends on who you are!) our gut instincts to us.
In yoga we have these layers through which we explain the phenomena of being a living human being - they're called the koshas. From dense to subtle we have:
Anamaya Kosha - The physical body.
Pranamaya Kosha - The breath and energetic experience of pulsation, of expansion and contraction - this connects us to the idea of the pulsation of the macro-environment around us, noticeable in tides, in seasons, in population expansion/plague...we'll come back to that later.
Manomaya Kosha - The mental and emotion experience. Not so much (or not at all) the storyline of the thoughts you're thinking, but rather what it feels like in your head as you think them. Is is crowded, busy, wild, or flowing, easy, meandering, calm...?
Vignanamaya Kosha - The intuition, or wisdom body. This is underneath the thinking mind. This is less personal. This is ancestral...cellular. This is the little voice that I was alluding to up top.
Anandamaya Kosha - This is the bliss that comes from recognizing the WHOLE self - all the layers as they act upon one another, interact with each other and create a rich, woven tapestry of consciousness. As we see our WHOLE selves, we experience bliss in this human manifestation.
When we tune in to that Vignanamaya Kosha, we learn to trust what we know - even when we DON'T know, there is some part of us, or something about the thing we don't know, that we know. We know what feels right to us and what doesn't. We know that turning to anxiety and fear doesn't create stability. We know that destabilizing our routines is frustrating, can be scary and uncharted, but also that our self-talk doesn't have to destabilize us, our self-care routines can morph into a different order, a different time or place, but that shape shifting doesn't mean dropping and losing routines and habits forever.
What we need to trust is that we are resilient and adaptable. That we will make lemonade here. That this is the drawing inward piece of that larger pulsation - Spanda - but it won't draw in forever. As a natural rule, what contracts will expand again eventually. Waves are a constant in our world - they will reach both peak and trough...over and over again.
For many of us, we spend so much time in an extroverted world. Giving of ourselves and rarely catching up on enough inward-drawing that we become depleted. This is so common that I have a coaching group about it. We lose track of what we need to do to care for ourselves because we are so committed and driven to help those around us. Our families and friends, sure, but in the grander scope too - through our careers and larger life choices, maybe volunteering or just being there for people when they need it. A babysitting here, a dog watching there - often at the cost of our own quiet replenishment. Not that that is a bad thing - don't turn this into Alex trying to tell you to stop being a good human- that's not it at all. But there must come a trough to that peak, where we take time to catch up on sleep, on time outside, on restorative practices, on luxurious baths, and general quiet time.
So maybe this is that time on the world stage. Maybe we all COLLECTIVELY need to take a break. This is it. We kinda have no choice. And instead of dreading it and hating on it (of course there are legitimate worries, I am not trying to belittle health or financial struggle), we might look at it as mandatory me time, en masse. A mandatory slow down. Mandatory family bonding time, spring cleaning time, watching the clouds time, journal writing time, legacy creation time, gratitude practice time, yoga time, meditation time, adding miles to your running routine time....on and on. All the stuff that we always say we don't have time for. Well, it turns out that now we do.
So I'll quote the inimitable Mary Oliver here and ask you, dear friend -
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!