Happy Valentine’s Day (or, as I know it, happy birthday, 2/14, to my husband Hanbit!). Despite your feelings about capitalism, commercialism and manufactured love, I wanted to write to you today to share some strategies from a recent “Whole Heart Connection” workshop I took on Zoom.
Though Zoom might seem an unlikely setting for a workshop about connection, I haven’t felt that level of connection with myself and other human beings in a group setting for many, many years.
Whole Heart Connection was a ten-hour series over the course of two days that featured invitations for body-based awareness practices to help you connect to your own energy so that you can better be in relationship with the unity that encompasses us all.
It was a beautiful weekend of coming back home to myself. I cried during (almost every) 20-minute break. I took walks. I experienced the sun and the clouds. I knew my own breath.
I’ve already started using my own adaptations of some of the practices I learned, both for myself (literally I’m practicing these somatic cues every single day), and I’ve offered some basic practices (as I’ve adapted them) for several of the people I work with as well.
On the last day we journaled about our take-aways and mine include: softening my eyes (so that the light comes inwards, rather than me grasping outwards and straining towards sight), feeling my connection to the earth, especially in my heels (not easy for me as a lighter-weight person whose primary constitution in Ayurveda is related to space and ether), and to be aware of and interested in the environment around me.
To ground in the present as it is right now.
Though I have personally experienced that my cell phone is distracting for me, one of the striking reminders at this workshop was that if we were alive in the past (and also had cell phones back then!!), the person sucked into their cell phone would basically be "tiger meat.”
The stress response of hunching over a phone, completely tied-in and unable to access the diaphragm for a deep breath, is in a cortisol-fueled state that would make that person easy prey for a stealthy predator like nature’s big cats.
This reminder has made me more conscious of my intent when I reach for my phone, especially if I’m on a bus or in a public space where I could, alternatively, just enjoy being in wonder instead.
I’m in the midst of my busy season, all four of my jobs, including teaching online for my acupuncture school, are active, and so I’m also finding myself more active at the time of year when rest is really emphasized in nature.
I’m finding my own sense of balance by having days where I go to bed at 8:30pm, and days where I let myself linger in bed.
And I’ve been breathing all the way into my low belly. You can do this too.
I’ve been re-remembering that my back body, my spine, is also available. This reminds me not to get pulled forward by life, but to ground instead.
These simple techniques are available to you as well.
Spring is the season of wind in Chinese Medicine. With the wind comes pollination, comes change. Find your heels connected to the earth, feel your spine, let yourself breathe. Whatever’s next, you’ve got this.