Recovery your Body. Recover Our Body. Such an appropriate time to take a close look at the meaning of this. We are living in an extraordinary time; the year of 2020 where it seems like what I knew about the world around me and what I trusted is changing faster than the speed of light. And yet at the same time everything small and ordinary is suddenly bright and light and engaging.
We have been sheltering at home for several weeks now. The weather is getting warmer with summer solstice only a few days away. I have not been able to hug people I care about; swim at the gym or practice pranayama breathing at my yoga studio. And just as I begin wishing for and bemoaning the loss of what has been before, I spy a spectacular orange dragonfly resting on the tomato cage outside of my window and feel joy. A smile spreads easily across my face.
This dragonfly… I will name it “Wonder”. It reminds me about what is truly important. Resting in the shade. Just noticing. Wonder is an important part of how I can be in this moment. Where would I be right now (in my mind) without the appearance of Wonder? I just hope that when I see YOU my friend, I can notice the feelings that arise in me and embrace those feelings without deciding whether they are good or bad feelings*. I hug the feelings that arise inside of me because of you. Hugging into the unspoken, unbroken bond of connection without even touching one another. We are here for one another to recover ourselves on an individual, community and global level.
*Feelings are not good or bad. They pass. I like to say that they are like signposts helping us decide how to respond or for that matter whether to respond. We always have a choice.
Lost 0.4 pounds since last Friday. Was hoping for 2.0. loss for the week. Part of me wants to pick apart the reasons why I lost less than I hoped for, but I really have to embrace the loss. At the beginning of this month of September, I set a goal to lose 10 pounds. I am not going to reach that goal. Maybe I will reach half that goal. I could become disappointed or I could embrace the loss and set a more realistic goal for next month. Stay positive! Be your own best friend! The numbers are progressing in the right direction. It reminds me of a trip down a river. At times the river slows and even stalls into an eddy. I need to keep paddling and keep the goal in mind.
According to my scale I have lost 2% fat in my body since a month ago. That seems like a good number. I have lost an inch in my hips and an inch in my waist and ½ inch in my neck. I put on these green pants yesterday. They say size 14, but I could never wear them because they stuck to my legs. Now they hang nicely. I folded up a pair of nice beige jeans and 2 XL tops and put them in a corner to give away because they no longer fit. When I reach my goal of 145, those clothes will be way too big. In the past I held onto the clothes just in case… I do not have the luxury to think like that ever again. This is my journey of letting go. Letting go of fat. Letting go of weight. Letting go of inches and letting go of clothes that no longer fit me- permanently!
When I walk now it feels easier. My thighs aren’t rubbing together anymore. My legs are more like wheels beneath my torso. I feel lighter as I move. It’s hard to describe. It feels more comfortable. Less is more. I am striving for less. I peel away the layers of false protection to discover this beautiful soul that lives inside. As body, mind and spirit become more integrated music fills me and overflows. I must sing. I must move. I must speak truth from this centered, gentle, loving place. I will be kind. I will be all those things I want others to be towards me. I know now that I am a mirror and you are my mirror. I want to be and see beauty, love, joy, compassion and passion when I look in my mirror. This also means I will surround myself with people who share my reflection.
Don’t be in a hurry. This is a process. You are not only letting go of fat and pounds, you are letting go of old beliefs, habits and attitudes that kept you stuck. Once these beliefs, habits and attitudes might have kept me safe. Now they no longer serve me. Yes, I say, “You served me. You served your time. I release you. You are free.” I am in this vulnerable and open place where I am unbecoming what was. Let me re-member the person God wants me to be and let me allow God’s love to fill me up. Love is Light. Love is light! Love.
Spirituality happens when we bring religious principles into our daily life. How does my religious life connect with my daily life? What exactly are “religious principles”?
Principles – I turn to the New Testament in Galatians 5: 22-23 which lists 9 gifts of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. This list of “gifts” seem like an excellent place to start. These “gifts” cross over many faiths as religious principles.
How well do I apply these principles in my life? Where do I experience a challenge?
Being and Doing – The answer to this question is found in exploring our moment to moment, day to day way of being and doing. In a recent podcast with Eckhart Tolle he discusses the image and metaphor of the cross which is a universal symbol that has been present even years before the cross of the Christian Church. The horizontal line of the cross is our doing, like a timeline: past, present and future moments in time. The vertical line of the cross is our being. It is our connection to each moment and to a greater being. There is consistency in that vertical line that intersects each moment on the horizontal line. Being conscious of these consistent patterns, ways of being, gifts or principles brings greater meaning and depth of awareness to the horizonal moment(s).
Choose and Act Accordingly – How is our doing? Shallow or deep? Aware or unwitting? “Fall Awake” says Jon Kabat Zin in his work on mindfulness. Fall awake into conscious being. Take responsibility. Release the pain and suffering of feeling powerless. Choose what principles you want to live by and act accordingly.
I invite you to respond with comments or you own reflection on the original question: How does your religious life connect with your daily life?
Oh lovely sleep! Why is my body so tired? Who knows? So grateful for the good night’s rest. Waking up to the sound of lawn mowers from the park behind my house or the school across the street. I can feel their vibration like a distant alarm. The sound remind me that it is Wednesday. Gently waking, stretching and noticing as I prepare to begin the day. I scan my calendar from memory and realize that the housekeeper will be here within a half hour.
Adrenaline kicks in. I get in and out of the shower. I realize I didn’t clean up anything before the housekeeper arrived. Dishes in the sink. Make-up all over the bathroom counter. Christmas ornaments waiting to be boxed and stored until next year. Books and magazines spread around on the floor or tables next to chairs. Empty cardboard boxes to go to recycling bin. Burnt out lightbulbs to discard. How do I dispose of them? My husband takes care of it. Coats laying on the bench next to the coat closet. I pick up areas of the house as the housekeeper starts in the kitchen. She says don’t worry and is cleaning up the dishes. Grateful that she is here and confident that my comfortable mess is not a problem for her.
I spend the next two and a half hours picking up and putting things away as she does more of the deep cleaning. Even the ornaments are wrapped, packed and placed in the attic for next year. Finally, I stop. I sit down on the couch. My Fitbit registers 5,000 steps. Tired and hungry.
Candles are lit as the days become darker. We don’t just hope. We know that the darkness will not last forever. We expect there will be more light soon. and will not be disappointed!
What do I expect?
I expect love and respect.
I expect to show up and be present.
I expect to participate and take responsibility for my part.
I expect to share responsibility.
I expect to cooperate, coordinate and communicate.
I expect truth and honesty.
I expect kindness, compassion and mercy.
I expect to have fun and to be creative.
I expect to explore new places and new ideas.
I expect to learn.
I expect that my heart and soul will be full of appreciation and gratitude.
These are all the things you can expect from me and more.
When I first considered my beliefs related to expectations. I wondered if I had stopped expecting, stopped hoping to avoid disappointment. That surprised me. How has my belief or my fear and anxiety that I will be disappointed shown up in my life?
It’s about the way I look at things. Have I expected to be disappointed? Every interaction offers me an opportunity to choose joy or disappointment. Do I want to live in the light or in the darkness? I now know that I choose joy!
Connected through the invisible wires of energy that pulse
and vibrate like a living being. We can almost touch one another. Seeming illusions
of connectedness. Tangible, palpable relationships grow and develop from the
web of obscurity. Association grows the we-ness. What was once so big and
unimaginable seems real and possible.
My tribe. My husband. My family. My parents. My children. My
grandchildren. We see each other frequently. Face to face. We greet one another
with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I watch your lips move and your eyes glance
up to the left. You recall and share a memory. You smile. The echo of your
smile quivers through my heart. I return your smile. The pictures and stories
you choose to share on social media keep me up to date with your activities. I
know you. I know there is so much more beyond the flat screen. I am always grateful
for what you offer.
My friends. We stretch and bend. We play. We are yoginis. We
are colleagues. We sing together. We pray together. We learn together. We
create together. We explore deep thoughts. We share shallow musings. We sit together
on a park bench admiring the still water basking in the warmth of our own
reflections. Walking arm in arm we examine the matters of the day. We bicker
and we banter. We agree and disagree. We play real games and mind games. We sip coffee and tea. We enjoy the support
and companionship of one another. Some
of my friends use social media. Some don’t. At times it takes an extra effort to
stay connected, and it is worth the energy. We encourage one another and are
available for support. You keep me honest. I am always grateful for what you
Virtual friends. You are from all over the world. You offer hope.
I get to see the world through your lens. Often I have never met, yet I feel I know you.
I think I know the tenor of your thoughts. I am certain there is more. I
wonder. I am curious. The words and pictures you share to choose sometimes
touch my heart and other times they challenge me. I appreciate the diversity of
our lives. We are encouraged towards a common goal. We share inspiration. I am
inspired to learn more, to understand. Our mutual curiosities and varying
wisdom expand the breadth, depth and width of that interest as we gain new
knowledge from one another. I am always grateful for what you offer.
It is 2019 and people all over the
world are spitting into little clear tubes and sending them off in the mail blindly
hoping to discover more about themselves and their families. All these new
tools that help us determine our ancestry and DNA are opening the doors of time.
History and mystery unlocked, previously enshrouded by stories and secrets that
are convoluted or implied. Generations of knowledge and pain locked up because
“we don’t wash our dirty laundry in public” and we just need to “suck it up.” These
messages are brought to you through music and movies and media.
In the 1960’s a couple of popular
songs included “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man”. And about fifty years later in 2013 we
realize we can’t suck it up forever when Disney releases their popular animated
movie called “Frozen” launching the song “Let it Go.” Households with young
children are watching their 3 and 4 year olds dressed in pink and lavender
tutus twirling with arms fully extended, hearts wide open, smiling and singing,
“let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore..” Then they fall dizzy and
laughing to the floor as the adults watch with masked envy and appreciation
wishing they could let it go.
At the same time that people are
expectorating and children are dancing, two and three car garages are overflowing
with material stuff that no longer serves a purpose and doesn’t fit into the
main part of the house. People stockpile long forgotten treasures paying
monthly fees to storage shed companies. We are reading and hiring “certified professionals”
to learn how to clear clutter and create more space. Popular reality television shows include “Hoarders”
and “Buried Alive”. The latest psychiatric manual DSM 5 has created criteria
for a new diagnosis called Hoarding Disorder. Holding on is ruining lives.
In contrast, we are also
experiencing a huge rise in homelessness due to a number of circumstances
including mental health and substance abuse problems, displacement due to a
catastrophic or financial situations, and in some cases pure choice.
We are in turbulent times pulled
between knowing and not wanting to know, having and not having. The information highway has exploded with
technology. Our politics play out on twitter and social media daily and hourly,
with no room for contemplation on any side. We are drawn in to the drama like
cockroaches scurrying into the dark, sharing our disgust or biased approval
with strangers and friends. Fear about the future lives in the corners of our
minds and is reinforced by the horrendous acts of violence and the lies that
are perpetrated by people in authority. The creative fiction of George Orwell
is becoming reality with gated communities and doorbells with cameras. Children are constantly supervised or
scheduled into activities with no time for free play and creativity. Many have
lost their sense of faith and trust, clinging onto promises of immediate
gratification for comfort and false hope.
Yet, there are optimistic writers
and researchers who consider this as a necessary time, a time for
transformation of humanity into a new era; the age of Aquarius. A new paradigm develops
with broader perspectives through quantum physics discovering the unseen
energies that influence us. We are experiencing a communal rebirthing of sorts
and are going through terrific growing pains with multiple contractions. In
order to survive this universal shift, we will have to consider what still
matters and what is most important on an individual and collective basis.