Wonderful happenings have been occurring left and right. Best friends’ weddings, amazing traveling adventures, dream opportunities. Gratitude has been abuzz and a-plentiful. Ideas and inspiration were flowing faster than my ability to record them. That’s why I was surprised when recently, I hit a wall: the I-just-want-to-binge-watch-tv-and-eat-cookies wall. It didn’t seem fueled by the familiar culprits of exhaustion and overwhelm, and since I eat cookies often, it didn’t seem fueled by a sugar craving (or crash). I couldn’t understand the need for so much downtime. All these amazing, positive feelings had somehow shut down my entire system, which stirred serious discomfort and judging. As I indulged in more tv than my norm and slowed down, though, I started to feel it. I noticed the urge to sit in pure silence (a rare desire for me) and felt an overwhelming need to absorb. Not stopping to ask my mind’s permission, my body entered sponge-mode, and I remembered some of the subtle clues it had provided in the previous days that I had noticed but chose to push through and look the other way.
As a yoga teacher, I often talk about the need to pause and notice – the breath, sensations in the body, all the clues we have (literally) at our fingertips. After flowing and moving, the last minutes of class are my favorite. They are home to savasana – that tender time when students allow themselves to lie in conscious rest and follow the rhythm of their breath. As I walk around the room providing a gentle shoulder press, I get to witness people simply, gently breathing. Their shoulders and faces soften as they move into this state of trust and ease. There’s an unmistakable air of peace and release. It’s a beautiful trade – I’ll keep the time while you unwind, while you notice and absorb.
It’s a time for the body to integrate the goodness of our practice, to let in everything we’re creating and learning in our lives. Sometimes I share a favorite quote by Martha Beck who says, “During the times we think we’re being ‘unproductive,’ the seeds of new worlds are germinating within us, and they need peace to grow.” I deeply believe this intellectually, but I often need the reminder that even when I’m not taking insane amounts of action, I’m still being “productive.” Time and time again, this idea proves itself. The choices I make from that crazed, mind-razzled space neither nourish me nor help my relationships with others. But when I can act based on intuitive forces, light pours into my life. I have refilled that well of self-care that allows me to tend to all the opportunities, love, and possibilities fluttering around.
We need time to absorb the goodness in our lives just as much as we need time to take purposeful action. We need time, in peace, to assimilate all we’re gathering and all we know. It’s where we find our sense of Self – that elusive, capital-S we always want to hang out with. From there, ideas, inspiration, and our intuition amplify. A beautiful cycle emerges when we stand back and provide whatever the time calls for.
I need a heckuva lot more than five minutes to gain access and insight. I often forgethow much time my body requires to self-nourish. But even when it’s more than I feel comfortable giving, it’s always the right amount.