April, The Month of Going Without and Going Within
Parties, gatherings, celebrations, education, canceled. Shortages of toilet paper, tissues, meat, beans, and soup. Salons, gyms, yoga studios, closed. Restrictions on travel, non-essential retail closed. Masks, barriers, and illness separating families and friends. The list of things that are missing from our lives goes on and it can be hard to not get stuck in a tailspin of thoughts and emotions.
But for all the things we are going without, we are also gaining so much. The air is cleaner, we're using less resources, we're connecting with our families, celebrating the arts that entertain us, getting outside. We're discovering other ways to connect with each other and taking time to discover ourselves. While we're going without, we're going within.
When the things that surround us every day are stripped away or are dramatically altered, we can't help but reexamine how we define ourselves. Our routines have shifted or have been outright obliterated. How do we adapt, how do we move forward in this new normal? And when it's over...well, chances are, our normal is forever changed.
We have an opportunity to reflect and examine. What is important to us? Whether we're working from home, laid off, or working extra long days on the front line as an essential employee (THANK YOU by the way), life is framed a little differently right now. That shift in perspective can inform how we can nourish ourselves now and going forward. We don't know how long this will last but we do know it won't last forever, and it also won't end tomorrow.
So in the meantime, what can we do? To be honest, I've been more than okay with having more alone time. At least intellectually. It's much easier for me to get my day job work done, there's less social stress in that area, more space for quiet. But then I find myself, after catching up on the most recent news, searching for some sort of projected timeline of when this will end. Part of it is my anxiety about going back, losing the increased freedom I currently have of arranging my schedule, but part of it is my anxiety about the current situation and the uncertainty that surrounds it. We can't accurately forecast when this will end or change how we got here. But we can be here in this moment. We can go within.
This month I've been leading a meditation series through Longwave Yoga. We meet via Zoom twice daily at 7am and 9pm EST for 15 minutes for a guided meditation. I've had a lot of fun planning this and also a fair amount of stress. I'm pulling from a variety of sources and adapting or writing a new meditation for each morning and evening. We explore a number of anchors or focal points and try different styles and techniques of meditation. Doing the research and writing for this has truly fed my soul and it's challenged me to grow in areas I didn't expect. It's also challenged my discipline, tapped into my reserves of energy, and helped me examine my own meditation practice. It's helped me go within.
Going within can look different for different people. It may be meditation, contemplation, journaling, art making, reading, time in nature, long walks, yoga, dance, running. Sometimes it is sitting in the yard or on the couch doing nothing. Things are uncertain now, but in actuality, they are always are. That uncertainty doesn't always come with the upheaval we are currently feeling, but it's there. If we take time to go within now, we can find our best tools to navigate that uncertainty at all times.
I encourage you to find that space to go within. It doesn't have to be monumental, it can be subtle. It's the small shifts, the ones we can commit to, that make the biggest difference.
Sit well, close the eyes, and please enjoy this free ten minute grounding meditation. If you would like to experience more, join us online at Longwave Yoga.
"Go within everyday and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out."