Finding Steadiness Right Now | Source Yoga
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November 2nd, 2020

 

There has been a tension in my belly most days this last couple of weeks. A jitteriness, a tightness in my chest, and some spinning in my head. Right now, many of us are fraught with worry, loss of control, a deep fear of the unknown. I have been trying to use my tools, but it really is hard when I am balancing work, teaching online, remote learning for kids, a partner who is almost too informed about politics and the state of the world, worry about high-risk family members in States spiking with Covid-19, and not to mention an historic and important election this week.  

This time is a lot. It just is.  

I have a sweet Monday meditation group I have been leading. I have several regulars that show up week after week. One of the students that I see most Mondays is a dedicated student at Source Yoga, Hira, who has been practicing yoga for decades. She shared a beautiful image with our group a couple of weeks ago, and the image has stayed with me.  

She said that being human and living in our world is like being on a teeter totter. Things are always going up or coming down. Constantly changing. The news of the day, our own mind states, our emotional ups and downs. We get news that we see as good and we are elated, we get news that we see as bad and we are depressed. Spiritual Practice, she said, is like learning to balance right in the middle. Sitting yourself right at the fulcrum of the teeter totter. As things go up and down all around you, over time and practice, you start to gain facility with finding the center point, the place of balance, steady despite the constant change around you.  

This is not to say that you never have a reaction to what you perceive as good or bad news, or you never have emotions, or even that we should bypass what is difficult for some image of a perfect peaceful state. But when we are constantly reacting to the ups and downs of the world around us, we are perpetuating more of the same – up and down, being flung around by the daily news and our emotional reactions to them.  

You may have heard the Taoist story about the farmer whose horse runs away. “Such bad luck!” The farmer’s neighbors say. 

“Maybe yes, maybe no,” says the Farmer.  

The next day the horse returns with two more horses. “Such good fortune!” say the villagers. 

“Maybe yes, maybe no,” says the farmer. 

The next day, one of the horses throws his son and he breaks his leg 

“Such bad luck!”  

“Maybe yes, maybe no.” 

The next day the local army comes to draft young, healthy men into battle. They see the son’s broken leg and reject him from service.  

Such good luck!  

Maybe yes, maybe no.  

We never know. We don’t know if the thing we celebrate today will turn into misfortune next week. We don’t know if the thing we mourn won’t turn into our advantage in the future.  

If we don’t want to be thrown by the swings of fortune and misfortune, the constant changes, the ups and downs of daily life, the news cycle, the election outcome, we need to practice finding steadiness right now. Putting ourselves on the center of the fulcrum, finding the still point of the teeter totter. We turn toward our practices to find a centering, an equanimity, a place in the middle of things.  

From that center, from that place of steadiness and equipoise, that is where we can respond with effective, powerful, and empowering action, rather than being in a state of constant reaction to the world around us.  

This week, I have decided to do what I can to help myself stay steady. For today, I am turning off the news. It’s not helpful right now for me to listen, read articles, worry about the outcome of the election. I am committing to doing restoring practices each day that help center me into my parasympathetic nervous system, that help me connect to my body with presence, and help settle my mental proliferations.  

Also, in support of us all finding steadiness in community, I am offering a midday meditation each day this week – Tuesday-Friday, 12-12:30. Join me! 

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We don’t yet know the outcome of this election. Depending on the result, we could be either celebrating or despairing. But what if we could be sitting firmly in our center, not in reaction, but in steadiness, whatever outcome we face. We might see it as good fortune or bad luck. Can we sit in the middle of things and find stillness in the center?  

Then we might take next action from that steadiness. 

 

May you be steady and well, 

Erin Joosse 

Source Yoga  

Studio Director 

 

PS: We have many opportunities for you to practice being in that still center point – in our daily practices live online yoga classes, with your kids in our family yoga series that begin this week, in our other upcoming workshops and series. Consider joining me for an at-home retreat, combining mindful movement practice, meditation, and contemplative writing in just a couple of weeks.  

  1. Thank you Erin for your beautiful message this morning. It has done more to steady and calm my mind and bring peace than anything I have read up to this point. I am grateful for your insights and words and to be a part of Source Yoga. I must be at work but will join you all in spirit and solidarity on my break at noon.
    Peace.
    Deborah Rivera

  2. The perfect message for the perfect time. Just reading your words is calming. I read it twice to fully absorb the message. Thank you.

  3. Thank you so much for being such a beacon of light for so many.

    I wrote this many years ago:
    When our hearts remain open and our minds become calm and still,
    it no longer matters what we meet on the crossroads of our lives.
    We just embrace and envelope them in our blanket of stillness and peace.
    This becomes the miracle potion we begin to share with others.
    Care to have a drink?

  4. Dear Erin,
    So kind, so generous, so thoughtful of you to reach out to all of us. You words created a picture in my mind of a soft peace softly holding me. So needed something like this today. So much appears to be crumbling and the ground does not feel secure and safe. Yet with the best intention I can gather I am trying to lean in, surrender and be present to what is. I bow deeply to love, empathy and goodness that always seems to rise up no matter what.
    ❤️🕉❤️

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