With the global pandemic on the rise, I decided to escape to my mother’s little nature cabin in the Pacific Northwest for a few months. As the vastness of nature greets me every morning all of my opposing feelings of being a thirty-year-old stuffed tight in a tiny house with my mother, her dog and my fluffy cat melt away. As I would take my daily nature walks, cedar trees towering above me every step of the way, I began pondering the concept of “root to rise.” A theme you are probably familiar with if you have ever been to a yoga class. “In rootedness there is stability to rise,” they say. I was certainly in a serious need to rise. To stretch beyond my coping habits, to rise from the depression I had been experiencing and to blossom into fully loving myself.
The past year had been chaotic to say the least. I had no idea which direction to head next and was beginning to question every decision I had made for myself up to this point. Thanks Saturn Return. I was ready to escape into 2020 and call it my “Eat, Pray, Love” year. But here walks in Covid-19 and all of my dreams of escaping to foreign countries, burying my feelings in tropical cocktails and exotic adventure flew out the window. There I was again, looking for love outside of myself. Instead, I was forced to turn inward, to stop collecting hundreds of hours of yoga and self-work trainings and to actually put these teachings to the test. Here is what I am learning along the way:
GET CLEAR ON YOUR VALUES
What supports your well being? What doesn’t? WHO supports your well being? Who doesn’t? As unconsciously attached as that wounded little girl inside of you may be towards making the unhealthy job, the relationship, or the location work, sometimes it’s time to put on your big girl pants and recognize when you are no longer in alignment with what you truly value. Letting go of circumstances that aren’t healthy for you doesn’t mean you are a failure or unworthy. In fact, you are worthy of anything you can imagine. You are a child of the universe and love pulses through every fiber of your being. Get clear on your values so you can embody them and attract into your world what you are clearly seeking. You are the author of your life and your greatest responsibility in this life is to your own life force.
ATTUNE TO YOUR INTERNAL RHYTHMS
Study yourself. When you are aware of your body's needs you can choose practices, foods, activities, etc that keep you in a state of balance. For example, if you are feeling incredibly stressed out, have manic energy and short choppy breathing in your chest, it’s probably not the wisest choice to have a double shot of espresso and go to a heated power yoga class. With awareness of how you are feeling in the moment you can choose to take the right action at the right time. You can choose to treat yourself with kindness. Instead of adding fire to the fire you are already feeling, maybe you go for a walk, have a chamomile tea, focus on taking deep breaths into the belly, practice a slower yoga flow class or maybe just taking a bubble bath and call it a night. *NOTE: Sometimes slowing down when you are riled up feels uncomfortable initially, just as the thought of activity can make you want to hide under the covers for life when in a lethargic state. Start taking action slowly and mindfully and know that sometimes the actions we feel most resistance towards can have the strongest effect in shifting us back into balance and clarity.
REFLECT / LOOK INWARD
Don’t run away from yourself. Make “you time” a priority. Whether you are sitting to meditate, taking a bath, going for a walk, or dancing around the house in your underwear to your favorite song, allow yourself time to be with yourself. Do it for you, and you only. Sit with your hurt, your joy, your uncertainty. Feel it all and allow your emotions to freely flow through you. Meet yourself exactly where you are at and watch the relationship between you and YOU blossom.
CONNECT WITH THE EARTH
Put your feet in Earth’s soil, swim, plant a garden, watch the sunset, go for a hike, lay in the grass, observe Earth’s other creatures, or even just take time to acknowledge with gratitude the food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe. Intentionally connecting with our Mother Earth has had an instant grounding and healing effect on me. After all, she is our Mother, we are not separate from her and she holds all of the key ingredients for life.
This pandemic brought on a call for me to slow down and reflect. Although I resisted the slowing at first, I now recognize how transformational this time has been for me. I still well up with emotion for the tragedy and hardship this pandemic has brought to our world. But I also recognize the call to root deep into myself so that I can bloom from within. After all, as Oscar Wilde eloquently wrote, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”