Apr 23, 2020

Check Engine Light is On!!

check-engine-light-is-on
The red light is on
U see it on your dashboard
Pull over
Stop the car
Open the hood
Check the fluids
Believe what u see
Add what you need
Then close the hood
Drive on

--My dad

 

Wow. I am not going to mince words here. Shit is getting real for me. The check engine light is on. 

I am afraid. I am dealing with grief. I am angry. I am resentful. And ALL of this is valid and necessary. 

This week more than ever I am experiencing dis-ease. I have spent WAY too much time on social media and not enough time in quiet contemplation.

What I need is a reset. A pause. A strategy to move forward because I cannot go on in this state of being. Can you relate?

I know that there are basic non-negotiables that I have to commit to everyday to find my equilibrium. Through this global pandemic it's been harder for me to find the energy, time and motivation to stay committed to the ways I have shown up in the past. The tools that have worked in the past are not as accessible in this moment. 

My nervous system is dis-regulated from the constant noise. And, yet, I can’t seem to shut it down. Emotional dis-regulation that is being fed by the constant messages coming through my screen. Some I agree with. Some I don’t. All of it feels like noise right now. The next right thing for me is to turn down the noise until my nervous system has regulated and I am better resourced. 

Because I know what happens when I try to plow through without this reset, without this pause, without resourcing myself. I cause harm. We all do when we are not caring for our own bodies (physical, mental, spiritual).

I don’t take this lightly. As a person of privilege I see self-care as a responsibility to the whole. I have the resources, knowledge and privilege to take care of myself so how dare I not. And I offer myself grace and compassion when I make choices that are not sustaining my highest good. This is nuance. This is the capacity to sit with the complexity of being human. And it is complex. This is a complicated moment. 

It is a moment that requires a little re-assessment. This is adaptability. This is resilience. Circumstances change and shifts must happen. This is yoga. 

I feel very lucky that I have the language, experience and tools to notice this and find ways to regulate before it gets really bad. The red flags that show up in my body, habits, emotions, relationships are all present. And I know what to do because this is the path of kriya yoga. Kriya means ‘action’ and yoga means conscious union of body, mind, soul and Spirit. The three components of kriya yoga are svadhyaya (self-study), tapas (self-discipline) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to a higher being). 

Right now in my body, pitta is out of balance. This means I have too much of the fire element, which increases anger in my emotional body and inflammation in the physical body. It has left me stuck in the sympathetic response, which does not allow me to digest what I am taking into my senses well. I am agitated, tense, impatient and judgmental when this imbalance arises. 

Because of my yoga practice and years of learning more about Ayurveda (the ‘science of life’) I am alerted to this imbalance and see it for what it is, an imbalance. I am more aware that something is out of alignment and I know what to do. I have the resources and the tools. This imbalance can be leveled with the right practices and daily habits. 

And, yet, I often still go towards what brings this imbalance. Why? Because I am human. We all do this. That is why we call this a practice. 

I don’t want to wait until I have a total breakdown before taking action and I am lucky to have support. 

With the right spiritual accountability partners, teachers, loved ones and circle of people around me I am reminded who I am and I can take the necessary steps to get some balance back. I am so lucky to have these networks in place. People that will gently, yet honestly, invite me to come back to my center. To take action so that I don’t find myself falling deeper into despair and rage.

Here is what I know works for me:

  • Eat nourishing foods
  • Practice Ayurvedic eating guidelines for my body
  • Sleep
  • Limit time on social media
  • Limit too much time watching, reading, listening to news
  • Connect with other human beings
  • Move the body
  • Stick to a routine
  • Self-massage
  • Gratitude
  • FEEL and acknowledge my feelings. All of them. But, don’t get stuck or let that story define me. Move it through.
  • Make my routine one that optimizes my body’s potential to thrive. Choose to align with the rhythms of nature when possible.
  • Ask for help. Get support when I need it.
  • Contemplative practices. Meditation, journaling, reading.
  • Find ways to be of service. Don’t just look for the helpers. Be the helper. Do the next right thing.
  • REST
  • Pray

What works for you? Perhaps what has worked in the past is not what you need right now or perhaps what has worked in the past is not accessible for you right now. Pause. Reset. What CAN you commit to that will bring you back to your center. Start small. Make small shifts that lead to a more sustainable change. This will invite you to remember who you are, remember who we are to one another. 

Because when we are individually resourced (through both self-care and collective care) we can better show up for the whole. 

 

Do you have the support networks in place to stay on a path of growth and evolution, especially in this moment? I would love to connect with you about Align & Awaken, a dynamic group of womxn who are committed to both personal and collective evolution. We are enrolling for the summer cohort, beginning June 23. If you want on the waitlist you can apply here


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Do the work to get resourced. Practice self-care. Rest when you need to. But, it can't stop there. Find a teacher, a therapist, a mentor, a coach and dive into the work of untangling the traumas, beliefs, ideas, prejudices and attitudes that are harmful to yourself and others. We cannot simply point our fingers at everyone else. It starts with me. It starts with you. 

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The question I am attempting to address here is how we can create resilience and build our body’s capacity to adapt to these changes and manage these big and often uncomfortable emotions without falling apart.

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We can use the tools of both yoga and ayurveda to support the digestive process by stoking the flame of agni that is often times represented as living at the solar plexus. Agni governs our metabolism, digestion, absorption and assimilation and its job is to turn our food into energy and bodily tissue.