I hope this finds you all doing well. To be honest, this is the third go-round of writing this email! Again, life shifts and it becomes difficult to know the best next step to take or what to put energy toward. Recently, I find my energy comes in small bursts and I’m doing my best to honor the waves as they come – both the low and high tides. Equally, I’m continually learning how to ride the waves of emotions.
At the end of last week, I sat for hours in front of the computer doing my best to create content and curriculum for upcoming camps. It was not as productive as I’d hoped – many ideas brewing but nothing distilled enough to form into words. Additionally, I got swept up in current events. In the process, I became aware of a few lessons, but the one I want to focus today on is how often I can be quick to judge.
It emerges in the form of judging others, judging my kids, and judging myself (which is where everything begins). I see it, especially these days – when we are all operating with a baseline of stress. I witness it in myself, my kids, and I certainly see it online. Since the beginning of this time in quarantine, it seems like we have all been desperate for answers, for certainties, for absolutes. Information is shared, but most has all become static and white noise. We read a headline and repost before reading the article, we take comments out of context and debate instead of discussing, we believe many topics are an “us vs. them” situation. It’s understandable, but we might need to find another way.
Knowing my state is already heightened, and observing how quickly I can judge and react, I’m seeing more and more often the need to slow down. This is my current practice. The pause before speaking, where I can fully look at myself and anything that was triggered, as well as look at the other and see if there is something underneath what is being expressed. This requires a certain amount of practice with self-examination or svadhyaya in yoga. When we practice meditating and observing our thoughts, sensations in our bodies, and practice allowing all within us to settle – if even for a few minutes – we are more able to access a moment of pause when we are triggered and create space for observation. In that moment, we can choose our response, rather than simply react. I can notice unhelpful loops of thought I have within, times when my harshest critic surfaces, and can find ways to be gentle with myself. I can get curious about what’s underneath all that typically buzzes at the surface.
The collective energy is calling for more internal focus, but is also energized with a spirit of wanting to make something happen. It’s challenging to keep our heads on straight. Yet, it is so critically necessary. We have to start with ourselves and our homes if we are to see any changes out in the world. I invite you all to take time to slow down, allow energy to settle before reacting, and allow the surface of the water to become calm so that you can see both the reflection and what’s under the surface a bit more clearly.