[I wrote this IG post last Sunday, while still in NYC, though I didn’t have the energy to post it on this blog, with minor edits, till now.]
That experience I had last Monday on my yoga mat was contextualized this weekend. It had been practice for me to recognize when my body was in constriction and to be able to breathe it open. At the time, I had attributed my inability to breathe well to the soreness in my body, but looking back upon it, I remembered that right before class everyone had been talking about the coronavirus, and when my teacher opened class with the suggestion that we “shake off our concerns about the virus,” I remember thinking that that was easier said than done. Similarly, the fear in the air here is so palpable that the moment I emerged into Penn Station I felt it seize my entire body.
I had to actually phone a friend to hold space for me because, again, the more I tried to force the breath, the more constricted my chest felt. My friend guided me to initiate my breath in the solar plexus, to feel my inhale as light, and to breathe out all the fear I was picking up from others. I was to continue breathing that fear out till I could find light in my exhale, as well. And then I was to mindful breathe this breath of lightthis entire time.
This has been an indispensable tool this weekend. I make my living tracking energy and teaching others how to do so. This means that I conduct my life by this principle. I go where the energy takes me, and sometime my internal compass guides me to take decisions that makes my mind balk. Turning down a PhD fellowship at Harvard, shuttering a business I loved, and quitting flying trapeze are just some of the things I felt guided to do even when I could think of so many reasons to do the opposite, and I faced the skepticism of so many people in my life. I can’t even say I follow my heart, because the calling is deeper. These are not trivial impulses, and often walking the path that opens before me calls for a stoutness of heart and a steady conviction.
This past week since I felt the first promptings to go to NYC, I watched the news get worse and worse, and checked in with my internal guidance daily to see if it was still the right thing for me to do. Honestly, if I had detected the merest inkling that the energy had shifted direction for me, I would have happily stayed home. It felt like a bait and switch, like, “Hey, go to the city because you need to fly!” to “Go to the city because you must.” So here I am. I’m looking forward to going home and laying low for the next two weeks. One thing I am learning from this trip is that I cannot take my breath for granted. This weekend it has not merely been a practice, but a way of being.