So, how has it been for you since the pandemic has us in this state of indecisiveness, wading through confusing news sources, job unpredictability, family dynamic challenges and changes, toilet paper shortages, shaggy hair, and political divisiveness?
-Has it changed your priorities?
-Is there something you miss more than other things?
-Has it changed the trajectory of your future?
-Has this been hard? Easy? Both?
At first my mind was eased since I was most thankful that I tagged along on my husband’s Parisian business trip in November, completed my massage school requirements, and that I had already started a marketing course which is helping me streamline my offerings.
I was grateful that our (grown!) kids all have jobs and are sustaining themselves, even though Clive’s daughter lives far away in Australia and is about to deliver her first baby in a few weeks.
I’ve been happy with our food deliveries and relieved that no one close to us has come down with the virus.
Still, there have been emotional ups and downs in regards to my husband’s work, my plans to begin putting down roots in another part of the country, and simply that every day freedoms like going out without thinking about a virus is impossible.
And I had my first good cry last week after watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not what you think. The movie, based on a true story, is about how Mr. Rogers was able to help a grown and somewhat angry man open his heart by having him revisit his childhood and remembering his stuffed animal, Rabbit.
It’s during childhood when the constraints of social conditioning begin to edge us away from our innocence. Childhood is a time when our hearts are open, before they begin closing down for protection against a harsh world.
This movie opened my heart that is often times clouded by this conditioning. One of my early conditioned responses was to think that I had to be in control at all times or my world would fall apart. And that if I didn’t have everything in order, as planned, that the world would come collapsing down around me. Not that I had had a horrible childhood, mom and dad were loving enough. But they loosened their end of the parental bargain a little earlier than my young self perhaps felt comfortable with.
What I have had to learn over and over again is that everything happens how it happens. And that the only thing that I can do is to cultivate faith and work on being as relaxed as I can about things over which I have no control.
We all have challenges that we have to work through. Or opportunities to grow, I should say. Challenges that we tense up over can also turn into dark spots that are immune to the light. And dark places, without the light, tend towards inertia with their own gravitational pulls–and show themselves during our weakest moments. Remaining in those dark places does not contribute to our personal or our collective growth.
So there I was, sobbing, trying to tell my husband about the end of the movie before uttering the words, “There will always be enough–toilet paper!” (Picture: husband looking at me quizzically.) You see, that was the one thing that I was determined not to stress about, going against the grain of the collective lack around the toilet paper shortage! (Yes, we have bidets, but still…).
Choosing not to stress out (or not defaulting to my childhood conditioning) about something over which I had no control, worked (and it wasn’t the first time!) See, I never went looking for toilet paper, nor had I any plans to because I had the thought that it will come my way when or if I needed it. Picking up a formula at a local, natural pharmacy a few days before seeing the movie, an employee asked me what else I needed after handing me the prescription. In a joking way (making fun of the collective state of lack), I said toilet paper. And voila, he ran back into the store to get me some!
If only we would know that there is enough. And that this enough seems to come to us more easily when we are relaxed, open, trusting in life’s processes. And that being uptight and trying to control every single aspect of our lives is not where we can find peace. Or experience health.
Pratyahara is the 5th limb out of the 8 limbed yogic path. Most folks see yoga as a bendy, physical practice. But the bendy asana part is the 3rd limb. The first two limbs have to do with being a good human-being and practicing being this good human-being. But after asana, the levels are more refined, and thus more difficult to experience.
Pratyahara is the limb which asks us to practice internalization of our senses; in other words, not staying focused on all the drama in the world. Consciously bringing our awareness inside or cultivating our internal experience keeps us from reacting to every piece of confusing information or every distorted image. Or at least from buying those messages hook, line, and sinker. But the internalization isn’t mental. It’s that something that can only be experienced by being in your heart.
Meditation, contemplation, being in nature help to feed this limb so that we can continue on the path towards peace and wellness. To still the mind chatter. To calm our bodies. To un-clench our jaws. To relax our shoulders. So that we can know that real control is not really control at all, but is a peace that is only found deep within ourselves. It has always been there and will continue to be there and is more apparent when we can shine the light of awareness on those dark, conditioned places.
And this global pandemic, like the childhood that you could not control, is providing us with an opportunity. The opportunity to go within. And to have a look around to see what’s going on in there. To draw the senses inward. To cultivate this more refined limb of yoga, the path of en-lighten-ment.
What opens your heart to you? How can you access it and find the calm in the storm?
Committing to a professional accountability partner, Ayurvedic practitioner, professional educator, licensed body worker, intuitive, practiced herbalist who’s steeped in ancient traditions and who’s traveled this path for decades, takes courage and a real willingness to take your life to the next level of wellness. What are the kinds of lasting changes that will affect your life positively? When we work together, you’ll be able to implement those changes for the long haul so that they’ll positively affect your life and the lives of the people you surround yourself with.
I am so incredibly thankful for the amazing education and support that I have received working with Parthena! In a world so easily filled with toxicity, I have found Ayurveda to be the perfect solution to regaining energy and vitality. Parthena is a gifted Ayurveda practitioner in that she worked with me with where I was at and patiently supported my path toward healing! I cannot recommend her enough and my only regret is not working with her earlier! – Dave A.Vero Beach, FL
For more information, schedule a 20 minute complimentary session with me by reserving your space on the link below. There is no obligation!
The healing journey that I had planned for those interested in experiencing authentic pancha karma is now on a flexible schedule. Aparna, one of the directors at Vaidyagrama, will hold rooms for me and the few folks who would like to come along, whether it’s in November or at a later date. You still have time to think about going, but you don’t have to make a decision until the end of summer when it’s more clear on how the world will reorganize itself.