2020 literally began by falling down the stairs and tearing my ankle ligaments—during recovery our collective experience of March began. I was once more pulled out of my heart and back into a state of fear.
This year has pulled so many of us out of ourselves. We’ve been forced to face new fears and discover new levels of stress.
Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and minds. It shuts down our frontal lobe and disables our higher thinking. These higher levels of stress hormones break down our protection mechanisms. Over time, stress breaks down both our bodies and our minds.
I spent most of my life convinced living in a high caffeinated, stress state was normal—it isn’t. A lifetime of PTSD, a workaholic father, even my yoga mentors supported this over-doing theory.
Most of us have convinced ourselves of this. Doing has taken precedence over being. We see over-working and over-scheduling as a point of pride. When forced to slow down because of quarantine we found new and old stress patterns emerge. Those of us who enjoyed the slow-down found the stress of going back to “normal” overwhelming. We are all in our very own special brand of a stress response. In the words of Julie Ann Johnson, these times feel hard because they are hard.
As humans, we are wired for connection and action but we are also wired to simply be. To simply be—effortless and easeful.
Balance is a constant negotiation of opposites. It is never perfect, but a beautiful dance when we can surrender to the deeper knowing of our hearts—allowing ourselves to be exactly where we are on our path. The art of non-doing is the antidote for our over-doing. The opposite of action is the deliberate in-action of meditation and mindfulness.
When I say meditation I’m not referring to a perfect yogi sitting on a mountain top. I say meditation as any means by which you can find your own sacred pause.
When we are in a state of active relaxation or a deliberate state of inaction—we learn acceptance, patience, ease and trust. We tell the fear responding limbic brain to shhhh so our higher mind, our frontal lobe—the conscious choice maker, can bring us back to ourselves. We learn to let go into the greater matrix of our oneness. We receive and are nourished by universal intelligence.
For those of you who want more science stuff: Meditation moves blood flow into the cortex (higher brain), builds brain cells, increases grey matter and allows the brain to slow responses to stress for better concentration, learning and memory.
There is no one "perfect" way into these calm, healing states of the parasympathetic nervous system.
When I fell this past January it jolted my nervous system. It seemed impossible to sit in meditation even though I knew it was what I needed most. I decided to get curious. I let go of what it “should” or “use” to look like and found a new way in. I re-discovered a new gateway into my heart.
Through yoga, ayurveda, behavior science and group support I help people find their unique way in. Not just into a regular mindfulness practice, but into living the 10 habits of yoga and health. All of these habits help us return to our being-ness.
The conundrum is that most of us know what we should do, but we don’t do it. Changing our habits is simple, but it isn’t easy. The difficulty in upgrading our habits is that these old neuronal patterns strengthen every time we get angry, every time we procrastinate “just one last time.” These samskaras or accumulated impressions in our body, heart and mind—they gain momentum every single time we repeat them.
The yoga scholar, Sally Kempton argues that at the core of our yoga practice is the work we do to purify, reforge, and replace these inner patterns. This intentional friction or tapas is the antidote to our samskaras. One way tapas is generated is by taking simple, necessary and informed actions to grow into the person we have always been. I’ve heard it likened to a tough, sweat-inducing workout. Tapas transforms what already is—into the fuel for what is possible next. Right effort slowly reveals our path forward.
The habits are not complicated, they are all free and have profound impact on your life—they simply bring you back to being-ness.
Are you ready to come back to your being-ness? The journey to living your best life is simple, but not always easy. No one is meant to go on this journey alone. This year (2020) I started a coaching program, Wholehearted Being! I help women step into their power and purpose through the habits of yoga and health. Together we let go of our perfectionism and step into our life's potential. If you are feeling stuck and ready to embrace your wholehearted self, let's connect! Book a free Clarity Call with me here to discover how truly powerful you ARE.
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