When Everything that Happens Feels like We're Fucked: How to Get out of Reaction Mode.
It all started Friday night. My phone started going crazy. "We're fucked. We're screwed. Oh No. This is bad." Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away, and the world literally seemed to explode. I had to pause and wonder about the very strong emotional reaction the world had to her passing, which I did not seem to have. Was I a cynical person who'd lost my heart and didn't care about anything? What I discovered upon going right into a yoga class (thank GOD) and reflecting on the situation is, no, I am not a heartless woman. I simply have chosen not to feed into drama. Yes, her passing is sad and emotional and monumental. Yes, there is very real fear around what could possibly happen on the Supreme Court and the shady nature of politicians is coming out. AND. Believe it or not, we are not fucked. Unless we believe we are.
I find in COVID times, the drama level feels higher than ever. Everything seems to be blown out proportion. Because many of us are constantly on our phones and the internet with information privy to us with the click of a button, 24/7, we see and experience it all and we take in so. much. information. Because we are already in a high stress state and many of us out of routine, the ground beneath is shaky at best, and so, the trappings of drama and all the other things are easy to fall into.
This, right here, is exactly why we need the yoga practice.
When the ground beneath us feels shaky and we feel ourselves going into our heads and creating stories about all the possible awful scenarios we are headed for, yoga reminds us that all that stuff is just that: A HEAD GAME. And guess what? It's a game we won't win. What's real and true is in the body. The body is incapable of lying to us. When we are hurt, we feel pain. We we are angry, we feel hot. When we are sad, we cry. It's simple and pretty straightforward if we pay attention. The mind? Lies to us all the freaking time. Tells us we're stupid. unworthy. incapable of making decisions. Tell us so and so is out to get us, that person we are driving behind is an asshole, that girl in line is judging us. It's all based on perception and 99% of it is made up shit based on what we *think* we are seeing. Really.
When I really sit in my body, and I think about the state of the world, I don't feel panic. I feel sadness and discomfort and need for change. It's actually from this place I am the most capable of affecting real change. Because I can see clearly. This is what yoga offers me, what yoga offers us.
So what could yoga look like during this time of heightened emotion in the pandemic? How do you pull yourself out of "everything is fucked and we are dead" mode? How do you stop yourself from spiraling.
Here's a few of my suggestions:
1) Start listening to your body. See if you can notice what it feels like when you are anxious. Notice where you feel it. Notice what it feels like to react to something without thinking. Notice what it feels like to be angry. Learn to be aware of and trust your body's signals.
2) After said noticing, take 3 deep breaths when you feel yourself in knee jerk reaction.
3) Pause before you speak, especially when you feel anxiety rising up in your body.
4) Get on your yoga mat and moving your dang body to get the energy out
5) meditate as a way to quiet the noise of the mind (notice- not get rid of- quiet it)
6) Go for a walk or a run or a hike. Get outside and move!
7) Call a friend for an outsider's perspective.
8) Take a freaking break from social media.
9) STOP WATCHING THE NEWS. SERIOUSLY. It's SOO BAD for you. You have NO IDEA. (really- look up the research)
10) Find time each day to do ONE thing that fills your soul- even if it's just 5 minutes in the morning with a warm cup of chai (this is my favorite thing!)
Yoga is a practice. And it's a practice we all desperately need right now. If you want to feel calmer, more stable, more solid... try out a few of these things. And Yes, let's mourn the loss of incredible figures. Let's be sad about the reality of the world we live in right now. Let's also not get stuck in the downward spiral that can be our heads and our minds! Let's dive into the body and lead from there. Fall is a time for starting to slow our rolls, to reflect, to sit, to enjoy the fruits of our harvest. It's a time to let the drama of our headstuff go. It's a time to go deep into all the body and heart stuff.
I don't know about you... I'm ready for a deep dive.
Going all in,