Speed

Photo by Alex Powell on Pexels.com

My dear friend Jen sent me the perfect text the other day. “This has been the weirdest longest shortest year ever.” It’s hard to believe it’s now December, nine months since everything came to a grinding halt. In some ways it feels like just yesterday that we were trying to figure out what this virus would mean to all of us. And in other ways, it feels like years ago. Time has actually gone by just as it always has, but it has felt different this year.

Prior to the pandemic we were a society moving at breakneck speed. Our devices are made to work quickly and efficiently so that information, goods and services, and communications are all at our fingertips. That in turn helps our lives do the same. Then we were forced to slow down. For many of us that has been a difficult thing. Moving quickly can be a way of not allowing ourselves time to dig too deep into what is going on around us.

Being forced to slow down can actually be a great gift. I found a quote relating to this by Pico Iyer in Tias Little’s book “The Practice is the Path,” and I think it resonates with that idea.

“In an age of speed…nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”

Tias’ book has a whole chapter devoted to how speed gets trapped in the body. Our bodies have become addicted to the adrenaline rush of speed. According to Tias, “Speed gets trapped in the diaphragm, fascia, gut, arteries, and nerves.” This speed trap results in exhaustion, lack of concentration, high blood pressure, restlessness and lack of awareness. Tias says: “How do we take our foot off the accelerator? It begins in the body by slowing the heart rate, reducing the sympathetic drive (responsible for the flight-or-flight response), slowing the breath, lowering blood pressure, and sleeping longer and deeper. On the mat, we learn to break out of the “habit body” that is compelled by urgency and motivated by acquisition. We must learn the art of being through ease, stillness, and silence. In yoga this is called satchitananda – the joy of just being.”

It is my hope that, as the winter Solstice approaches and the days slowly become longer, we learn from slowing down. That we notice the passing of an hour, a day, or a week. And feel satchitananda.

Stand in your truth

Photo by Evelina Zhu on Pexels.com

I had the good fortune recently to spend time with my beloved mother-in-law, Libby. Time with her feeds my soul in a very special way, and she is the impetus for this blog. She said, “Amy, we need people to stand in their truth right now.”

I began reflecting on this after I left her. After arriving home I came across some notes from an online seminar with Judith Lasater and her daughter Lizzie called “Taking Refuge- Finding Peace in the Time of the Virus.” During this talk, the word “overwhelmed” was discussed. We all know the meaning of the word and many of us are feeling that way right now. Judith describes it as being pulled in many directions at once. But, says Judith, it also means disconnecting from ones true self.

My “self” is my highest form of refuge. In this context, refuge is not a location but a connection to your essence, your higher power, or however you define your “inner most knowing.” Refuge is not moving away from what’s happening around you, rather it is running towards what is happening with your own sense of truth. When in doubt, be in your truth and tell the truth as you know it.

What if you aren’t sure what your “truth” is? I suggest taking time for self reflection. Move away from outside stimulus and be quiet. Meditate even if only for 5-10 minutes Take time to not only observe your mind, but love your mind. A dear student sent me this reading recently that speaks to this beautifully:

As She Is
"In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that...
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger - something better, pushing right back. 
 ~Albert Camus

Covid observations

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com
I like to ride my bike.
I like to cook at home.
I love time with my hubby.
I miss hugs.
I love the library.
Trader Joe's is the best.
I still feel connected to others in zoom yoga class.
Sunlight brightens my mood.
So does being in nature.
Naps, oh yes.
The air fryer is a game changer.
Good neighbors mean even more right now.
It's hard to stay off the phone.
There is a a lot of suffering around us.
Time passes quickly even when you don't know what day it is.
I've forgotten what my clothes are like.
Staying home and wearing a mask cuts down on need for lipstick/lipgloss.
Why can't I remember to not bother putting on aforementioned lipgloss when I know I'll be wearing a mask?
Zoom happy hours are more fun than I thought they would be.
I don't remember living with this much uncertainty ever before.
I feel the love of family and friends more acutely.