Every moment I’m thrown by your story. One moment it’s happy, and I’m singing. One moment it’s sad, and I’m weeping. It turns bitter, and I pull away. But then you spill a little grace, and just like that, I’m all light. It’s not so bad, this arrangement, actually.” , Rumi 13th Century Sufi mystic and Persian poet(1)
It has been over a year and a half that we have had to adjust to the twists and turns of a changing world to navigate the challenges that the pandemic has plied the “normal” stressors of living.
On one hand, the struggles we have faced have been on a grand scale for so many; loved ones lost, careers and family lives disrupted and the social and political structures within which we live under intense pressures. Add to this the more basic day to day changes in lifestyle we have been undergoing. Lockdowns, changing school and work practices, supply shortage and other disruptions mixed with the upcoming holiday season and its specific stressors have added more of the unknown into our lives.
It can be harder than ever to sustain and develop family and personal relationships, enjoy recreational activities, and find time and means to continue the self-care habits that keep us happy and whole.
In so many ways, particularly when we have limited or no control in so many of circumstances of our lives, Yoga and Meditation and self-care practices can be immense help in creating the physical and mental balance and perspective to help us.
The fruits of consistent and skillful attention to building inner reserves strength and balance within in stressful times can help us by:
- Teaching and reminding us in idea and in practice an often forgotten or minimized truth that the body and mind are one—physical stress and discomfort may beget mental stress and discomfort and vice versa. Long term and unabated stress can be at the root of developing or exacerbating disease mental and physical processes. (2)
- Offering specific tools approached as mindful movement practices (3) such as Yoga poses, breath connected movement that access and relieve help physical tension and invite a re-discovery of healthful motion to to address accrued physical imbalances and chronic musculoskeletal tension in regaining or building on fit and flexible bodies.
- Developing mind states of heightened equanimity healthy detachment or “witness consciousness” (4) that can help us have, at least at times, a different and more open perspective in challenging circumstances. Having an ability to step outside ourselves and emotional reactions can allow us access to what may be called intuition or a different way of knowing. The perspective it engenders can be a support in staying calmer, more conscious and present in in stressful circumstances. It may reveal new awareness’s that can help us in the decisions we make.
- Uncovering and living more comfortably and creatively with the truth that the only constant in life is change. For so many Yoga meditation and self-care practices can help bodies become more free of uncomfortable feelings of tension and help the mind develop a meditative sense of being patient and present with what is happening in the moment. The sense of roundedness and presence this can bring may be of great benefit as we choose steps we need to take to respond to these changing circumstances.
- And finally, in darker moments in this process perhaps we have, through this work on ourselves and the perspective of wisdom and equanimity it can help us cultivate we may cleared ground within for some moments of grace to touch and uplift us in unexpected and mysterious ways.In the words of the Poet Rumi:
“In this mob of I’s inside, which one is me? Hear me out. I knowI’m wandering, but don’t start putting a lid on this racket. No telling what I’ll do then. Every moment I’m thrown by your story. One moment it’s happy, and I’m singing. One moment it’s sad, and I’m weeping. It turns bitter, and I pull away. But then you spill a little grace, and just like that, I’m all light. It’s not so bad, this arrangement, actually.” (5)