Lately (maybe for a while now) every day can feel out of control, scary, frustrating, etc.. Uncertainties, anxieties, disappointments, worrying are extreme feelings. That which is extreme, according to Ayurvedic teaching, is too much movement. For me, that excessive movement really knocks me off of my feet and I feel up-rooted and I feel afraid, insecure, inadequate--you name it! Sometimes, I fail to use the tools that I know will somewhat settle my heart and then I remember....
One of the almost immediate balms I turn to when I'm feeling sensitive to the world is to literally place my hands into the ground, onto a plant, or to walk slowly. It's amazing how connecting to something so beautifully and powerfully stable can remind us that, although the world around us is swirling, there is still a huge oak tree above me and I can create a vegetable garden to feed my family and friends. I can snip some flowers to bring into my house or pinch off the dead leaves from a plant so it may thrive. I love to walk slowly and with the intention of offering the ground kindness so maybe someone picks up some of that love with their steps.
When my mind starts wonder and is filled with worry and insecurity, I start to study and focus on fine-tuning my yoga practice. Today, I went to a my favorite yoga studio in town (Soul Fire Collective) and it was precisely what I needed. The teacher, Tim, presented a challenging practice that I could bring a lot of focus to and I could dive deeply into my body and breath. I didn't move at the pace he was suggesting. I moved with my long breaths and focused on transitions and alignment and balance. I felt strong and clear and in control (as much as that can happen). I have great intentions to go to the 5:15am Ashtanga practice tomorrow before our 7am class so I am a better teacher for you.
Over-scheduling, background music, running errands, traffic, and clutter are examples of excessive stimulation and extreme movement and they really fill up the needed space in life. Is there anything that can shift off of your calendar (not the things that have to happen but the items that maybe are just getting to be too much)?
My dear, brilliant friend, Krista told me years ago. about how she drives without the radio on. I love music but silence is sometimes all that's need to settle some of the anxious thinking. It can be a bit daunting to sit in silence but give it a try and see what you notice. In silence, maybe you're able to simply understand if you need food, a nap, a cry, or a hug. If I want to listen to music but not get frazzled by it, I'll play a violin concerto or some pretty instrumentals (sometimes lyrics kick up the over-stimulation for me).
These were just some of my ideas. What works for you? Please share.
I hope you have a day that is grounded and full and that you are happy. I hope you know you are good and strong and capable. I hope you know you are filled with kindness and love and that you are loved by so many.
Happy summer solstice to everyone. This is our official first day of summer and it's the day where we get to experience the most sunlight of our year. Being a sun lover myself, I always enjoy the practice of staying aligned with the sunshine especially since, from this point forward, we slowly move toward the end of the year and day of greatest night which the first day of winter or the winter solstice.
Over the years, I've created some personal practices for myself that help me to celebrate the day. Usually my yoga practice and teaching style seeks to balance what might be happening in nature and our social climate with opposing attributes, i.e., if it's hot, we focus on cooling practices and, if it's cold, we warm up. Today, however, I like to stay in parallel with the sun energy, soak it all up and pop it into my reserves as the daylight gradually dwindles.
I woke up and had the great honor of doing 108 sun salutations with the fantastic people you see above. Although we weren't at the same physical location, they came together and connected with me virtually. We moved a lot and increasingly faster as the sun came up higher in the sky. We broke up the daunting number into 4 segments of 27. Each segment of 27 was dedicated to someone or a cause, etc. You might give this a try yourself and YES it is absolutely fine to spread this out across the day.
After class I began a few other rituals I have for this sunny day: I placed all of my gold jewelry in the sun, brew sun tea and placed a jar of filtered water in the sun. At the end of the day, I will drink both the tea and the water and place my rings and necklace back onto my body and I'll get to absorb all of that sunny goodness. I'll also spend good time outside but will be careful not to deplete myself with excessive perspiration and won't fry my skin. I want to nourish myself with the warmth but not aggravate or dry myself out. I think I'll also visit the farm stand and gather some of nature's beautiful produce. If you pay attention you'll notice that what is growing now is actually supporting your new season: cooling and hydrating cucumbers, watermelons, berries, bitter greens (but sweeter ones that in the spring), mint, basil. It's so wonderful.
What rituals make sense to you today? Have fun. Get creative.
Enjoy the golden sweetness today and happy summer to you all!