Healing in Community
Have you experienced any feelings of overwhelm lately? There are plenty of ways overwhelm can creep in - hectic schedules, personal demands, societal expectations, social media, the news, political division, environmental issues ... And sometimes one of those, or several of them piled up at once, and it just becomes too much.
I have found myself longing to reconnect with my own personal wellness practices again because of feeling overwhelmed. I let some go by the wayside recently, as I do from time to time. I know that movement, mindfulness, and nature provide profoundly beneficial effects both mentally and physically. Those benefits have helped me feel more connected, grounded, and calm through bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety. But I have often flowed in and out of them. Always returning when I notice the overwhelm again.
So this week I took a class with my yoga mentor and spent an hour reconnecting to my body and getting out of my head through mindful movement. It. Was. Glorious. And it reminded me of why I love yoga - the strength, the grace, the intention, the gentleness, and above all the awareness created through breath. Everything else melts away during that time of practice.
I also sat in my backyard and simply watched life happening around me - allowing my gaze to be swept up and across the sky when birds went soaring by, noticing spiders tight-rope walking across blades of grass, being lulled by the gentle bobbing rhythm of bees floating in and out of flowers, watching the clouds shape shift overhead, and listening to the wind in the leaves. Again, it was just me and my immediate surroundings. Calm and grounding rather than worry and sadness.
What happens in these movement and mindfulness practices is that I become present. I forget my to-do list and all the ways I am great at being hard on myself. Instead, I feel connected, calm, and at peace. I relax. I become part of something bigger than me. I AM part of something bigger than me. It can be easy to forget that with all of the ways that we separate ourselves from others and nature, which can lead to more depression, stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
If I need a reset, I head outdoors. There is space there. I have room to breathe in the expansiveness rather than in enclosed walls and florescent lights with background hums and dings of electronics. I find myself slowing down to match the natural rhythms around me - the bees bobbing in flight.
Often I do these resets on my own, but was delighted to experience them with others this week. I was blessed to be able to share time outside in the garden with family, take a bike ride with an old friend, and share a walk in the woods with a group of people I had just met, and some other wonderful connections. It reminded me of the power of community.
Community is a healing gift in and of itself. I have had some very hard days before I had to head into teaching a yoga class. And yet it amazes me every time that, no matter how I felt before, I feel transformed at the end. I am reminded that I am a part of something bigger than just me. Sometimes I need to strip away all the added layers of stress and overwhelm and thoughts to remember this. Shared energy is healing. Shared energy can be with one other person, a pet, a group of friends, a new group meeting for a shared purpose, or time spent with trees or flowers or a river. In the work that I do, I am blessed to experience that healing shared energy through one-on-one sessions or group classes.
I invite you to notice where you can find community and healing this week. It could be time in your garden, at a yoga class, a walk in the woods, coffee with a friend, or in a new book club with strangers. Savor the time you spend in community with a few deep breaths to really breathe it in and ground yourself in the moment. Use your senses to heighten your experience - what subtle things do you see, smell, or hear? And very importantly, notice how your body responds to this experience. How does your chest feel? Your stomach? Your body in general? What about your thoughts? Savor your healing time in community this week.
As always, please feel free to share your experiences. :)