Living in Detail

This day’s keywords.

I am trying to honor the daily urge I have when I wake up; to write. I always justify forgoing it by “needing to get to work” or other daily routine “requirements”.

Not today.

I, like so many others, am somewhere in the cycle of adjusting to “life at home”. I’ve passed by the anxiety of what this all means, the anger of being indefinitely separated from loved ones, and have landed in the acceptance of what this is, an opportunity.

First, let me qualify by saying I am not a trained psychologist, yogi, or other wellness practitioner. But I am a fairly well-trained human. The luck of being in the instructional design space is that you can learn ALOT from the experts you are given the privilege to work with.

When I first started in my career I was coming from a place of both uncertainty and empowerment. The universe saw fit to plunge my into work with some of the first who inspired me to heal in my youth from now known giants of the Chopra Center, Hay House, Kripalu Yoga & Health, Optimum Health Institute, etc. I look back at both the peace and resistance.

It felt like the equivalent of when I used to wrestle with the boys in my youth and, finally, in recognition of the strength over me they ever so ‘gently’ yet increasingly reinforced, would tap out, “okay, I give”.

Through working on a project with Bo Forbes, I was introduced to the notion that the body and mind can be lost in either anxiety or depression simultaneously or separately.

That is today’s subject: when to move, when to find silence, when to restore, and what all that has to do with connection.

Movement: Embrace it. This one is a counterintuitive truth to me. So much media is focussed on “meditation and breath” to calm you when you feel anxiety. This does apply in many situations. It is especially helpful during stressful work meetings to quell fight mode. There is a different form of what feels like anxiety that using that technique may only serve to frustrate, at least for people with physiology like my own. For you and me – movement is critical. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a marathon run or bike ride. Just walk.

On your walk perhaps connect with something you have dismissed before, whether that is the flowers or leaves on a tree or the architecture of a building. Maybe it is a feeling of gratitude. Maybe it is identifying with what you feel and urge to do and are suppressing? This is actually a contemplative practice, basically a ‘moving’ meditation much like yoga. Similarly, getting up to throw some laundry in, perhaps giving the mind time to process while the body moves, can also be therapeutic and, contrary to popular media, may increase productivity and focus upon return to work.

Silence: Oh how I am embracing it. I am recognizing how I have been using noise to cancel out noise. Noise on the train, noise at work, noise in my head. I think this is the most difficult practice for some. Embrace the silence. Not much to be said there except to say it will help you connect to what your body and mind are telling you that you need for sanity. I am finally able to find enough quiet to read a book more thoroughly instead of comforting myself with the droning of the repeating storylines of Netflix series TV. One day at a time.

Restoration: The opposite of movement. Yoga practices such as legs up the wall, supported child’s pose, or inversions. It is hardest to recognize when inversions are the best idea in lieu of movement. Lately, I am defaulting to starting with the movement but then going into repose at the end of the day. Other times I feel the need is when I am getting stiff in the back or neck due to sitting at the computer or some kind of mental stress. Find movement by all means but use restoration to be kind to your body.

Connection: Find the details. The details in the leaves on your walk, the detail of cutting vegetables, the detail in your dog’s face when you gently pet them (they feel your stress too), the detail of what your body feels like, what is happening in your mind, the words in a (virtual?) conversation, the intricacies of the art of your work – what ever it is – in every practice find it.

There is a ton of “conventional wellness wisdom” out there floating around on the interwebs that you may find yourself pressed to follow to the T. However, it may not work that way for you. Choose your own self-directed study. Use breath (as simple as taking a moment to make sure you are taking deep breaths) to help you notice what you need and how your body/mind is reacting to it.

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