Chanda in Hasta padangustasana

Breathe, slow down, be present, repeat.

Many thanks to my family and framily (friends like family) who cared for or offered to care for me and my sweet Eva because of my injury. I was chauffeured to the hospital, had a few meals prepared for us and Eva had an impromptu playdate that she enjoyed thoroughly. Thank you so much and I love you! I’m grateful to my docs at Kaiser, Oakland Community Acupuncture, loving Reiki practitioners and Inner Landscape Acupuncture whose magical needling of me allowed my body to begin the process of healing quickly and without the use of medications.

Yesterday, I talked my first class since my knee injury. I say talked because I did very little demonstration and mostly verbal instruction. Thankfully, it was a gentle flow class- emphasis on the gentle. Before we began, I checked in with everyone to see how everyone was doing, how their bodies were feeling and what type of mood they were in. One woman had a Baker’s cyst (knee injury), another had a blood clot in one of her lungs. There was an individual with a shoulder injury and another person with low back pain. As I sat there with my knee brace on, I felt humbled and a tremendous amount of compassion for our effort and willingness to just show up.

Over the course of the last week+, there were classes to cancel, clients to reschedule and I missed a really important event. But once the dust settled, I was able to rest, and wondered if this forced unbusy-ness was truly a gift. Yes, even as a yoga teacher, I sometimes take on too much; sacrificing stillness for productivity. Last week, I slept a lot; then I slept some more. I came to the realization that it is time to shed a few things from my schedule to allow me space to rest and daydream. I also realized with so much yoga in my life, my joints and muscles are pretty loosey-goosey– a medical term– and that I need more strength training to bring more stability in my body. I even stood in hasta padangustasana while washing dishes to keep my knee elevated! (See pic)

Chanda in Hasta padangustasanaIt’s raining today in the Bay Area and it’s lovely. In the midst of rushing Eva to get ready for preschool, I turned on my crockpot and I managed to enjoy a cup of tea– in a real cup– while sitting in a chair at the dining table. Before last week, that tea would have been in my travel mug and most likely forgotten on the kitchen counter.

Breathe, slow down, be present, repeat.

I have been reflecting and meditating on this passage by Thomas Merton:
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

I don’t know about you, but I have certainly felt myself deeply impacted by the violence and harm inflicted on ourselves to the point of near constant sadness and overwhelm. How can I bear witness to the brutal execution of another unarmed person, a bloodied child screaming for his mom after a bomb has destroyed his home, another small body washed up on the shore of some faraway land, the cruelty shown to animals and rapidly melting polar ice? How can I be present and show up authentically, demonstrating compassion, empathy, right action and right judgement, pay the bills, cook a fresh, organic meal for my daughter, finish homework as well as writing my book and have the time to roll out my mat and weekly acupuncture?

Breathe, slow down, be present, repeat.

To work for peace in this world, I must be at peace within myself. If I promise to remind you to take a deep breath and slow down, will you remind me? We’re all in this together. Regardless of what happens, my humanity and survival is inextricably linked to your humanity and survival.

I can hear the bells from the nearby Catholic church. The sky has been heavy with rain clouds all day. As I consider this day, I realize that I’m able to cross a couple of things off my list of things to do. We’ve finished an early dinner and soon it will be time for bed. We’ll talk about Halloween and I’ll make a sketch of the costume that Eva wants to wear.

Today was a gift and I am truly grateful.