Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ancient Wisdom -- I Am Because We Are

How fragile my own sense of invulnerability is…

I consider myself a fairly intense force of nature—strong-willed, intelligent, deep-hearted, fierce for what I value, friendly to most (even those a bit grumpy with me), curious in what I clearly don’t know. Confine me to quarters for more than 72 hours? All of it begins to unsteady itself … The veneer of invulnerability begins to unravel, if veneers even can unravel. (What are veneers made of anyway?)

My days have been spent shifting my work/communities—circle sisters, mostly—into ‘digital mode’, inviting those willing to try it into safe experimental spaces to see how they may fare, do they want to, can they…? It’s actually been a good way for me to keep distracted, useful, helpful. My way of being in the world has historically been the steadiest when I can be useful to others, particularly those I love. But now, with those mountains climbed and a successful circle held last night, the spaces will be opening up for physically distant, self-isolating hours, days, weeks…at home, alone, with my husband and my dog. The pit in my stomach sits there, waiting, every morning I arise.

I used to feel an anticipation bubble when I would wake up, usually 6:15 or a little earlier. I would ease out of bed, trying not to wake my husband, so to get into my workout clothes. Soon ‘adult recess’ would come! My body loved the anticipation as much as the movement. I’d make the coffee, take the dog out while the water was heating, take coffee into our room (and yes, usually a muffin for my husband—I am his major supplier, as per his desire for being loved in that way). We’d have ‘coffee in bed’ for a while before I’d finish morning ablutions and get on my way to the gym. I’d sometimes listen to a guided meditation or a ‘pray as you go’ recording of the day, or sometimes just music. I had solitude before and after the gym. On some days when my work-a-life would allow it, I’d stop off at Wholly Grounds after CF for a café latte (with unsweetened almond milk) and an hour of writing for me. Blog-post writing usually, on leadership or CrossFit or ‘miscellaneous’. Home to shower, eat a DH plan breakfast, and off into a full workday, sometimes until 10 p.m.

My days have drastically changed, and changed so fast my head and heart are spinning. I know I am not alone in this whiplash. As I completed ‘Annie’ in the garage, then went for the CFD invited run (walk/jog/row), I heard myself thinking: This is changing you and you need to let it change you. If you get in your own way, if you resist and hold onto what you knew before, it’ll just get harder and harder.

So I need to let go of the rhythms I knew and loved. I need to enter into my life with a curiosity of what I (and my peeps) may need, and how I may best communicate what I need with those in my life... One of the Seven Whispers then—Ask for what you need; offer what you can. When I felt the tearful edge, I reached out to a CF coach for a simple voice-touch, with a clear purpose of naming my need/intention to return to plan-eating after my birthday, but also to simply name my unsteadiness. It was good to be heard, and know myself needing nothing more than that. A friend reached out to me for a Facetime writing date. That feels fun and easy—yes!

So my new rhythms, just this week… I awake when I awake, make the coffee and check the FB feed for CF connection, and my email for things I’ll need to tend that day. On wise days, I begin with three pages of ‘brain-drain’ writing called ‘morning pages.’ Perhaps on even wiser days, I simply enter into the wko first thing. But the ebb and flow of the day has required immediate attention to immediate needs—Zoom learning, communications, new preparations, tending to things Brian has needed. Soon, I’ll be able to devote attentions to my online teaching, blessed to be on ‘reading week’ this week, without deadlines or need for video-taped lectures. And soon the jigsaw puzzle will come out, the knitting project will lengthen, the kitchen will be cleaned and recleaned, with baking seed-bread and coconut muffins next on the agenda. I know I will feel steadier when I am focused on welcoming what-is, and thinking creatively about what my spaciousness here could offer me, and those around me.

Because I am who I am, a seeker and more, I have landed in an online Novena, held by the Abbey in the Arts. First day was Tuesday (17th), but each day is recorded so to enjoy at one's own pace and schedule. This may be a good practice-oriented way of being in my listening heart right now. My husband and I have entered into a tentatively regular contemplative practice together. And the virtual coaching/contact with CF peeps is keeping me positive and ‘in it’ fairly well. I miss this rhythm the most, probably. This 'container' and my regular discipline within it have returned me to my body and internal wisdom so very well. I notice the fear of losing what I have come to know inside... I noticed my old-energies/self-defeating talk increasing in volume about “I’m not fitting in,” and “others are more connected than I am right now.”... Such old tapes inside...known well enough to honor them, befriend them, and release them into the air with love. There is great freedom is simply welcoming what is AND knowing you are connected in trust and discipline and silliness-fun of who we are.

So my welcoming practice phrases will go like this for the next hours, days, weeks:

I welcome what is and I practice getting curious…
I let go of my desire for security/survival.
I let go of my desire for approval, esteem, pleasure, affection.
I let go of my desire for control, power.
I embrace the moment as it is.

The seven whispers--phrases that can be mantra-like throughout the day--have been a good antidote to internal unsteadiness too: 

Maintain peace of mind
Move at the pace of guidance
Practice certainty of purpose 
Surrender to surprise
Ask for what you need and offer what you can
Love the folks in front of you
Return to the world

I love this life and my small immediate family. I am also newly aware of how very much I need the “so many others” in my life—circling ones, CrossFit peeps, friends, colleagues. While I do not do well saying the small sentence I need…it is illustrative of longstanding African wisdom, Zulu origin: I am because we are. End of sentence. We are. Human being means connected being, together.

Such fragile beautiful creatures, us, now being faced with new invitations to deeper learning, knowing, interconnection. Hmmm… Let this change you, Lisa. Step into the flow…

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