Will You Lean In Or Continue To Hide?

Never before have I seen such a collective opportunity to individually dive deep into the nature our true selves. Wide spread, contagious, life threatening illness is not new, nor is this kind of universal opportunity for awakening. It may be new to those of us who are living in this current time and place (I only have 40 years on this planet, after all.), but the earth, the animals, and the humans have experienced this before. And the earth healed, and the animals repopulated, and the humans survived long enough to find new, beautiful ways of being, eventually falling into old patterns of selfishness and greed.

Is it possible that we humans are actually the virus, and that the “virus” is a cure? Is it possible to learn from this experience, to dig deep into the nature of our beings (individually and collectively) and allow this “virus” to be our medicine? For those who’s loved ones have been taken by covid, I know this way of thinking is appalling. I know that surviving the pandemic or apocalypse is a privilege, and that many beautiful souls will die. I also know that many beautiful souls die every day from various things, some natural and some not.

I believe that we are all teachers and we are all students, including animals, plants, viruses, bacteria, activities, interactions, spirit realms. If that is the case, what are you being called upon to learn in this moment? Who or what is teaching you, and who is your student? Lessons don’t come easy. Not all of us will choose to answer the call and go deep inside, but the opportunity to lean in is available to all who accept it.

What I am seeing right now, is that each of us is being shown what we need to be shown. The things we’ve chosen to ignore or simply have not had the capacity to see are being highlighted and presented to us as gifts. We get to choose whether to lean in, or continue to hide from ourselves. My experience with inner work is that I am presented with the same lessons over and over, until I learn. I am never presented with anything that I cannot handle, and have free will to choose how to engage. When I ignore an opportunity that is presented, it comes back and often with more force. Sometimes I literally need to be hit over the head to see. Sometimes I need to be in pain and darkness to be able to embrace the light, and be willing to clamor out the other end. And always, it has been worth it.

I was recently reminded of a time of deep suffering. The work I had been doing created so much anger and hate inside of me as a result of what I had seen. I hated the agency and the individuals who I deemed responsible, and considered them all to be murderers. I was consumed by emotions and stories that put my physical, mental, and emotional health into a downward spiral. My heart literally ached, and I felt broken and destroyed.

Through tears and gritted teeth, I decided to offer compassion to the people I so deeply hated. I practiced seeing them in myself and myself in them. It was painful and confusing, and it was transformational. One practice at a time, I acted as if I had compassion on the days that I did not, which eventually shifted into true compassion. The facts of the situation had not changed, but my attitude changed. My heart changed, the way my mind worked changed, and I became a better human as a result of this deep suffering. I developed a practice that continues to help me heal and bolsters me in times of challenge.

We can transform our feelings of fear, anger, despair, worry, etc. Not by ignoring them or pretending that we don’t feel afraid, worried, or angry. Rather we allow the feelings to exist and explore what lies beyond them. Step away from what the outside world says, and tap into the wisdom within. The practice of meditation, conscious breathing (prāṇāyāma), silence, and being with nature are some ways to help tap into what lies beneath. These practices keep us healthy in body-mind-spirit and prevent disease. I offer one breathing exercise here and one suggestion for a grounding meditation practice. You are welcome to contact me with questions.

Alternate Nostril Breath – Nādī Śodhana Prāṇāyāma:
Benefits: Calms, centers, and strengthens the nervous system, bringing balance to the body-mind-spirit.
Instructions:

  1. Use your hand/fingers to alternately open and close the right and left nostrils. The pointer and middle finger are closed into the palm, and the thumb and ring finger are used to close off alternating nostrils. Configure the hand differently, if desired.
  2. Begin by closing the right nostril with the thumb and inhaling gently through the left
    nostril.
  3. Close the left nostril, retaining the breath briefly or for as long as the inhale.
  4. Open right nostril and gently exhale.
  5. Inhale through the right nostril.
  6. Close the right nostril, retaining the breath briefly or for as long as the inhale.
  7. Open the left nostril and gently exhale.
  8. This completes one round. Continue as desired.

This exercise can be practiced without using your hands, and visualizing the breath moving
through each side of the body respectively.

Suggestion For Meditation:
Finding a comfortable space to sit, take a few full breaths, inhaling through the nose and
exhaling through the mouth with an audible sigh. Repeat the following mantra/affirmation:
“I am safe and protected, I am held and guided, I am stable in self.” Repeat the mantra silently
or out loud. After some time, sit silently for several minutes and check-in. If you feel able, offer
the mantra to all beings or to a specific entity. “May all beings feel safe and protected…..” or
“May__________ feel safe and protected…..”