What a year this has been. And yet, I find we are adapting.
In my house, we have adapted to work and school from home, we have adapted to only seeing friends outside, bundling up against the cold and damp, we have adapted to wearing masks when we go to the store. I (and all of your teachers) have adapted to teaching to a camera instead of people in the room. I am sure there are lots of ways you have adapted as well, including bringing your yoga practice home with you. Things that felt strange and awkward a few months ago now feel normal, or even okay.
As a business owner, I pride myself on being adaptable and responsive to the needs of the moment, but this year has tested me like no other. I have been through challenging times to be sure in running a small business, but no other time has required so much pivoting, so much reinvention so quickly.
But adaptation helps us evolve. Now that we have overcome the many hurdles of moving our classes online, we have online yoga as another tool in our toolbox forever more. Even once we are able to be back in the studio, we plan to continue online classes as well. There may be times where a virtual class fits your day better, and you will still have that option. And bonus – we have been able to welcome friends from far away as well! We have had students join us from Oregon, Hawaii, Canada, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Washington DC, Spain (I’m sure I am missing some other places too)! One of the gifts of this online time is that it seems to have made our world just a little bit smaller, it has allowed us to feel a little bit closer to friends and family far away.
We can celebrate the ways we have adapted, the ways we have made the most of things, the ways we have sacrificed the personal for the good of the whole. Sometimes it’s been graceful and sometimes it’s been a struggle, but let’s take a moment to acknowledge where we have adapted.
For many of us, we will be far away from loved ones this holiday season. There is some heartbreak in that. We are being asked to celebrate the holidays without parties, gatherings, meals with friends, or even important religious or spiritual rituals in community. There is sadness in this, and we must let that in too. It’s important to let ourselves grieve what we have lost this year. It’s okay to not feel totally okay right now. Let’s acknowledge that also.
Big or small, it has been a year of loss. Loss of normalcy, of certainty, for some, loss of income, jobs, health, or even the loss of loved ones – without even the comfort of being in community in the ways that feel important, essential.
This is hard. We can think positively, maintain a good attitude, realize this isn’t forever, practice our self-care the best way we are able, and at the same time, acknowledge that this is a difficult time. This hurts. I wish I could go be with my family member two states away who has been having health issues. I wish I could let my kids play indoors with all their friends during these rainy months. I wish I could ease the pain of those I know who have lost income or whose businesses have closed. I wish I could rest into some certainty about when this will all be done.
This has been a time of intense and sustained stress and uncertainty for all of us. It’s okay to let that in. To let the sadness of this time break our hearts a little.
I recently told a friend that I really only teach one thing, again and again, and have simply gotten good at saying it in lots of different ways.
In every class you take with me, here is the only thing I ever teach: how to slow down.
Sometimes that sounds like an invitation to soften. To allow for more rest. To let go of striving. To listen to our bodies. To move inward. To breathe deeply and slowly. To let our minds settle and let ourselves get a little more still. Sometimes slowing down sounds like: how can we be with what this moment holds with some spaciousness, with some kindness, with some equanimity?
As we invite a slowing down, I wonder – are there ways we can see this time as an opportunity? An opportunity to do less. To take our foot off the gas. To accomplish less, and let that be okay. Can we let this time be a stepping out of the drive of our consumer culture, where we are always reaching for more? Can we somehow give up being so damn busy all the time?
In some ways, this Pandemic has broken us, but I think if we let it, that could be a good thing. A shaking up of business as usual. Can we practice now, so when we get back to life post-pandemic, we might have developed the wisdom to move a little more slowly? Maybe not hustle so much?
I know that doesn’t always feel possible. We have to work, care for loved ones, shop and cook, clean our homes, pay our bills, plan for our futures, take care of our well-being.
It’s a lot of work, being human.
Perhaps what there is to let go of is the expectation we have that our lives will be perfect, tidy, or things will go the way we want them to. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that life definitely isn’t always going to go according to plan.
Can we let things be imperfect, messy, and uncertain? Can we be okay with our plans not always working out?
When we notice ourselves trying to figure it all out, can we take a breath in and a breath out, can we rest in this is okay? This feeling not okay is okay. This uncertainty is okay. This not knowing how things are going to turn out is okay.
This knowing that we are all in this together, all uncertain, all grieving, all experiencing loss – can we hold this with some spaciousness too?
Maybe, just maybe, being in it together makes it a little more okay.
With Gratitude for you – showing up online, supporting Source Yoga, for being in it with me,
PS: Please join us for classes and holiday themed workshops this month! Let’s practice together. View our upcoming workshops here.