song to go with this post: Blessed We Are by Peia
This year, I planned Five Big Trips: Jordan, Tunisia, Spain, Yosemite, and a birthday weekend in Yucca Valley. I was beyond excited for each trip & planned for them obsessively - each one offered something to look forward to in an otherwise depressing year.
3/5 of my Big Trips were cancelled due to COVID, and the other two were cancelled by California wildfires. Honestly, I was devastated. As in calling Jacob (my boyfriend) bawling about 2020 and how it was crushing all of my dreams. Travel, especially international, is the spice of my life, and I have gone sooo long without it, the blandness hurts.
Around the time my fifth trip was cancelled, I booked a healing session with a true miracle woman named Maria Martinez in Huntington Beach (find her here). The only way I can describe our session is combo talk therapy (but way more insightful than the sessions I had with my former actual therapist) + energy work (AKA laying on a massage table while she blasted energy into my body that had me traveling on a ship through my mind). Maybe I'll do a write up about that session another time, because it was life-altering, but for now I want to focus on a revelation I had there: I've been so focused on traveling to beautiful/foreign/nature-filled destinations to connect to God and my truest self that I bypassed doing the actual work of spiritual connection where I'm at now. At home.
I was mind blown by this insight. I'd thought that was the work I'd been doing all of COVID quarantine: connecting, grounding, rooting where I am. But I quickly realized that while that may have been somewhat true (e.g. I planted a garden with the help of my dad!), it was more true that I was spending my quarantine planning things for the future rather than embodying the present.
That realization was quickly followed by the innerstanding that any trips I planned would continue to fall through until I did the inner work to come into my highest self exactly where I currently am, like the rather cliche but apt adage "bloom where you are planted." So, even though I'd texted Jacob before my session with Maria to see if Catalina Island had any camping available in the next month and he sent me some available dates, I called him after the session and told him to hold off.
The next two weeks were a time of deep integration. As an aside, I cannot emphasize the importance of integrating your spiritual/monumental experiences enough. Taking the time to journal, reflect, physically process, and grow from these experiences is where the real work and benefit is done.
The thing is, I think a lot of us know deep down what we need to do to reconnect and embody our highest self. I certainly do: a regular movement practice, a regular meditative practice, and regular writing. Sounds so simple ... but I had fallen off the train. To re-center myself- to declare fully my desire to connect with God where I am - I started Yoga with Adriene's "Home" 30 day challenge. Adriene is a gentle, accessible teacher. If you are interested in yoga, she is my go to for all levels of ability. I chose the "Home" practice because that word is what I needed: to come home to myself. Like all the best yoga teachers, Adriene's main emphasis is on connecting to your breath. I now often realize that I am shallow breathing, and when I notice that, I have the chance to shift - to deepen my breath, and in doing so, deepen my experience of life.
I also decided I would immediately do a 10-15 minute guided meditation after I completed yoga each day. (My go to for meditation (also free!) is Insight Timer.) Anchoring my meditation practice to my yoga practice ensured I would actually do it. Honestly, I've never enjoyed meditation, but at least doing it immediately after yoga means my body is tired enough to sit through the whole thing. I'm focusing a lot on sacral chakra meditations because two different reiki healers and an aura reading all informed me my sacral chakra is blocked. Will keep you posted.
Other measures I've taken: I put a timer on my social media so I'm limited to 1.5 hours a day (I know that's still a lot, but I was doing close to 3 hrs a day a month ago). Finally, I recommitted to my writing with a renewed vigor. I have worked on my fantasy novel, Desert, more in the last two weeks than I had the prior two months combined. I have also kept up with my dream journal, and my actual journal, and written 6/9 letters owed to friends new and old.
This is not to say I've become a transformed creative productive machine. Two days ago, I woke up and watched Versailles on Netflix from the moment I woke to the moment I fell asleep - breaking only to eat and do my yoga and meditation. But that's okay, too. I'm honestly loving both reading and t.v. as leisure activities these days. It's important to me to embody balance & never fall back into the capitalist productivity trap that ruined my life my first year of law school. And I am also not saying I am now a perpetually happy creature - I've had a lot of moments of sadness, too, but the difference is that right now, instead of trying to avoid any hint of sadness by planning something happy in the future, I'm actually acknowledging the sadness and crying and letting it move through me. It's amazing how fast it passes when I embrace it.
I feel so different today than I did 2.5 weeks ago. I'm present, here. Excited by the now instead of what could be. Excited to come face-to-face with all my own BS and work through it. Excited to travel within; to explore the layers of my own creativity. It feels like the joy and connection I've been seeking. My fire is back. From this post, you could take away two things: One, I am a dramatic human who experiences drastic highs and lows - often in the same day (hello, Cancer/Leo cusp). Two, awakening is often lonely and difficult work. But it is cyclical, like all things, and so the healing comes with the joy.
I am so grateful to yoga and meditation practices to anchor into, to my breath for keeping me present, to the teachers that guide me, the family that humbles me (lmaoo), and the friends and plant allies that support me. My mind is honestly bursting with creative inspiration and I feel like I could write 7583492019485 blog posts. But instead of doing that, I want to encourage you, dear reader, to chase your spiritual wellbeing like it is the most precious thing in the world, because it is. Life is too sacred to spend disconnected from yourself. It is my deepest prayer that you see your own majesty, that you feel your own fire and come into alignment with it, that your world colors brighter around the edges as you walk in awareness of life and spirit.
If you don't know where to start, start small. Commit to a 30 day yoga practice with Yoga With Adriene, or a daily 10 minute guided meditation practice. Maybe buy your weekly groceries from the farmer's market instead of Walmart. Just be curious; see what shifts.
The world might still be literally falling to pieces in raining ash outside my window. I do not believe in spiritual bypassing and "love & light"ing your way through life when racial injustice and social inequity and environmental injustice and so many other evils are on our doorstep. But I do know this: whether I choose to crumble under the weight of reality, or whether I choose to live my life in a state of connection and awareness of Love, reality remains what it is. Perhaps by shifting myself to be more aligned with Love, my life can then create a more positive impact in the small ways it will. I imagine I'm not really contributing much to creating a better world when I am riddled with disassociation and despair.
We all knew this quarantine was calling us to a new way of life. Shift, then. Allow yourself to fall, fully, into the vulnerable and painful and gloriously beautiful, the raw and truthful, of who you are. Allow yourself to commune with Love. Know that Love sometimes looks like despair. Commune with her, too, then. Don't turn away. Who knows what awaits on the other side? <3