As you know, I love to talk about the exploration process. In a yoga class, I’ll often have you pause, close your eyes, and shift the gaze inward. Is it just me, or have the last 90 days been one long inward gaze? In huddles, we’ve discussed how our bodies give us information, and how our emotions arise in order to teach us something. We’ve been listening, and we’ve been learning. Now, in some places, businesses are re-opening and we’re faced with what’s on the other side of our front door. Like me, you may be wondering: Now, what?
When I was little, my dad would come into my room at 8 am on a Saturday, flip the light switch on, and say “Goooooood morning! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Up and at ‘em!” To which I would groan, and then think about how I had to get up.
If you’re into symbolism like me, there is no better time than right now to get up and take your life into your own hands. On Friday, we celebrated Juneteenth, a time honoring the last enslaved people in the Texas learning of their freedom. And then, on Saturday, we had the summer solstice; the light has come pouring in. More than ever, everything we’ve been missing, along with everything we’ve been choosing not to see, has been lit up. No more hiding. And then, today, some of us celebrated a father of some sort, whether alive or passed on, biological or figurative, external or internal.
In Daoism*, the yang is the Father energy- it’s passionate, ambitious, disciplined, and action-based. Compared to the yin- the gentle, patient Mother energy, the yang is more observable through our senses. We can see and hear our growth. We can feel the earth below us as we take steps toward our potential. Not only do we crave change- our taste buds themselves are changing. When we lean into the yang, we realize that we are not who we were yesterday, and we move forward.
Here's my point: the time is now. There have never been more signs pointing us toward action than there are today. The light has been switched on, and -here’s the good part- we don’t have to get up, we get to get up. How many yoga teachers and self-proclaimed spiritual folks have you heard reference, “Love and light”? I have to admit, each time I’ve read that, whether in an Instagram post or an email signature, I couldn’t help but think that while it sounds pretty, it also sounds somewhat passive. If 2020 has taught me anything, it's that passivity is canceled.
This is not the time for #loveandlight. This is the time to walk the god**mn walk.
What does this look like? I can’t answer that for you. For me, I’ve realized that the key to action is alertness. Looking at my original list of quarantine to-do’s, it’s all aimed at getting me grounded in my body and out of my head. This is mostly because my head is a scary place, but also because when I asked myself the question, “What have I been missing?” The answer was this: everything. I’ve been missing the smell of sizzling onions on the stove. I’ve been missing the warm softness of laundry fresh out of the dryer. I’ve been missing the sun on my face. And emails. So many emails.
One of my favorite teachers, Ruth Lynch, always says, “The backbend itself doesn’t really matter. It’s really just the willingness to backbend that’s important.” Whatever small actions we take this week, whether it’s checking in on a coworker who’s having a hard time, making the bed every morning, or chatting it up with the lovely man who resides outside of Walgreens, it’s the alertness and the intentionality that matter most.
So, as if this were a yoga class, here is my nudge. Get clear on what your intention is, and notice when you’re taking steps toward fulfilling that intention.
The sun is up. The day is young. And we need you.
So, up and at ‘em. Let’s f**king go.