Few days ago we never really used the word self-isolation which in Buddhist terms could be compared to self-retreat. A retreat is a time to be by oneself with no ways of communications, of distractions and some guidelines like not eating after 12pm or 1pm…
Last week-end when we were advised to stay in I went into a bit of a panic. Mainly fueled by my mother who fed me on the news which I have avoided listening to for 28 years as, since I left my parent’s house to study and work, I never had a television… I lie…I had a boyfriend who had a TV and when we moved in together I told him it was the TV or me!!! I am glad to say I won!!!
So last weekend I practiced a lot of the tools offered through yoga and all the other spiritual paths followed over the years. Essentially pranayama, slow yoga, walking outside bare feet and massaging my belly which is always bringing me back to my center. Ah and yes baths with Epsom salts!
Monday I woke up lighter and happier…You see for many years I traveled or let’s say I used to go and live far away to study the essences of some teachings, find healers and take time off from myself…except that wherever you go you are! So I would travel mainly for a while in India and Asia, then Central, South America and would live a life that for some of us now has become what might be our next few weeks…I chose to live this way for few reasons. Whether these reasons were chosen consciously or not I am not sure. I am shy so for me going towards people is always a struggle…less these days I am happy to say. I like being by myself…I never seem to get bored. If you want to smile many years ago when I was at the worst of my struggles (more on that maybe in a moment)I went on a retreat in the North of Thailand and when I realized that we could speak a bit I asked to be locked in my little hut (which was an option!) for a week. I loved it. Everyday I would be brought some food outside my room and at 1pm the container would be picked up. A monk would come and visit me to check on my meditation progresses. After a week when I stepped outside I felt I was on something…everything felt so vibrant, so bright and I could feel my heart deeply opened. I had tears running down my cheeks and felt so held, supported and loved…It would take me many more silent retreats, many more workshops, teachers, books, shamanic circles to deepen that knowing that we are loved.
Loving ourselves is a hard journey and I sense that on a metaphysical level we are asked right now to sit with ourselves, to look at the totality of who and what we are and move beyond the old ways. We have been abusing this planet which has done nothing but give us …this earth has been here before us and will be here after we leave this Earth body, yours…our body is made of the Earth, our breath is the wind, your spirit is the fire and the liquids in your body are this sacred water.
I have abused my body and mind for many years…starving it, pushing it, naming it, judging it …and with the years and all these different practices I am now more at ease. More loving…I teach in each of my classes what I need to learn myself. This time in history is an invitation to listen deeply, to look at yourself in a compassionate way, to reach out for others if suddenly you find this time alone just too much. We are asked to slow down, I am asked to slow down. I can work as hard as I can be with myself. When away all these years I used to live a very simple life. I would practice yoga, meditate, read books, read more books, eat a bit, walk by the beach or to sacred sites, I would go to bed early and wake up early. I would sometimes meet people. At the time I didn’t have a computer…Now we have the luxury to have this form of connection…which is both a blessing and a curse. I have decided this morning that once a week during this time I will have a day of silence…
We live in a society that values activity versus being, faster and more versus slower and less. For now I have managed to live simply, with no more than 2 suitcases and a bag. I have accumulated few more books the last few years but if I was going to meet someone who I felt this book needed to go to I would happily give it away. And I have with many items in my life!
It is a time to practice generosity whether it is generosity of action, financial support or a smile. It is a time to practice these qualities that elevate our moods and our vibrations: compassion, gratitude, kindness…I know some of us are going through very hard time but as a yoga teacher and body-worker I basically lost all my work…There is online teaching yes, but this is not the same. I am giving one of my classes to these centres that are hosting me on their platforms so that I can hopefully support small businesses. But I am grateful that I have a garden, that so far I have been healthy, that I have 3 kilos of rice in my cupboards (😉), that I have time to be more, that I have friends I have been talking to on the phone without rushing in between appointments…There is a time for everything. We will be fine.
Everyday I sit at 3pm for few minutes of prayer. I wish the initiative was coming from me but no the credit is to Caroline Myss a spiritual teacher who started a prayer group everyday in your local time at 3pm (https://www.myss.com/were-all-in-new-territory-video/).
Let’s pray, hope and heal…now is the time.
I want to add that I am aware of the immensity as well of what is happening and I am not dismissing the fact that some people are in less than circumstances, whether it is an abusive relationships they might have to be with for few weeks, a mental health issue, a suicidal tendency…My heart goes to all these people and we can help by praying and being there for whoever needs us.