This time last year I was at my favorite place in Bali, way up in the tranquil, far-flung north where black volcanic sand lends a deeply curative energetic vibe I appreciate. With nowhere to go now, nature walks at home ground are longer and more contemplative, the pause a meditation. I am relishing the forest baths and awe walks. Awe walks – meditative-like rambles where one looks for wonder – put things in perspective. The immensity of nature reminds me of unseen depths beyond the perception of the outer eye. I have found illumination in taking in the veins of a leaf, the unfurling of a flower petal, seeing old things with new eyes. The Creator is a consummate artist. There is beauty and poetry everywhere. Divinity is omnipresent.
Sometimes the known and certain are no longer best choices. I am taking time to venture off the usual paths. There is something purposeful about intentionally taking a different route to learn to relax into the unknown. Leaning into the possibilities that there will always be a way, though not the plan I dream about, is at once scary and exciting.
If I could name one thing this tumultuous year is teaching me, it would be to be fully present to what is. Right here right now is a wonderful place to be. We live in wild unprecedented times with no reprieve in sight. There has never been so much polarization, rage, chaos and all the uncomfortable emotions you can put a name to. I have never asked these many questions about the wisdom of pain, loss and suffering. Can things possibly get any worse? When my mind wanders to an anxious uncertain future, I find my breath to anchor into the present.
The peace of inner stillness allows us to understand everything is at where it is supposed to be. Serenity at the home in our hearts translates to peace outside. This practice of staying in the present is a conscious decision. It is choosing to return to the breath at every moment of awareness so it becomes a habit.
Our breath becomes us. We are our habits.
We come to realize that the universe mirrors back to us perfectly our beliefs, our intentions, our sincerity. What is the product of the map of reality you carry inside you. If you want to change your experience, you need to change the map. – Alberto Villoldo
When we take time for self-care and build good habits, recovery time to the center is quicker. When we carve out space to nourish our inner cosmos, we build capacity to tune into our inner teacher for guidance. This is the teacher who is in touch with the truth of the soul. Owning this truth – the truth that no external voice can tell you – is potent seed for authentic, courageous living.
Truth alignment births fearlessness. Authenticity vibrates at a higher frequency.
This is why we practice yoga. We practice not to experience zilch challenges and pain. We practice so we can stay in that shakiness and be the phoenix that rises from the ashes, stronger than before.
Self-care is an inside job goes beyond that organic veggie bowl or indulgent spa time. It is the art of taking time to:
- Edit your relationships, choosing more supportive and uplifting companionship
- Understand what it is right for you, not what will please others
- Set healthy boundaries to honor your energy, space and truth
- Tend to your feelings because they are valid
- Reduce busyness to have a life
- Relinquish what no longer serves to create space and move you deeper into you
- Streamline your material possessions to live light in every sense of the word
Change is successful and lasting when triggered by a significant crisis. A new way of being begins with taking full responsibility for our feelings, actions and reactions, eyes open wide. Life is an effective teacher. The year 2020 sets us on a path of discovery along stupendous peaks and valleys. The year of locking down unlocks a vast world of inner journeys to ask the imperative question: Is the life you have been living the life you want to live?