Last week, as I was driving home from my Thursday evening yoga class, I received a text from my son that read, “Did you see what happened in France?” At that particular time, I did not yet know that France was hit with yet another terrorist attack, so many souls lost. The Zen I was feeling at that moment flew right out my car window, only to be replaced with a knot of anxiety in my stomach that felt like a bowling ball, something I feel much too often these days. Of course when I came home I put on the news- and we all know the rest.
In addition to the unrest we are experiencing on this planet we call home, we are also experiencing a simmering hatred in our own country, practically outside our front door. As the mother of a police officer, unless you are walking in my shoes, you cannot begin to understand the heaviness I carry in my heart every morning when I know he is on duty- or the immediate relief I feel when I know at the end of the day that he is ok. You see, my son’s life matters. This post is by no means going to be politically charged, and although I have very strong opinions on these topics, they belong to me. However, I do want to talk about how we as humans can find a way to live a peaceful life in a world that is anything but. I have had conversations with people who are so afraid by recent events, they find themselves avoiding crowded venues, preferring to stay in the safety of their own homes. Honestly, I feel that way sometimes too, and yet I know that life continues to march forward and we must too, even if it is painful, even in the face of adversity.
Lately, I’ve been working hard at practicing the principles I teach my yoga students, and a large part of that involves living in the present moment. That can be very difficult when we are constantly worrying about what may happen in our world at any given time. The truth is, in the end, we only have ourselves and it is up to us to do everything we can to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I personally started cutting back on the amount of news I watch. I am way too affected by the images and stories behind them and although I don’t think it is healthy to keep my head buried in the sand, limiting the amount of news I watch or read has definitely reduced my level of anxiety. Plus, my husband is a bit of a news junkie, and if there’s something important, he always fills me in. A little time everyday on my yoga mat, even if it’s just to sit and count my breath for a few minutes can make a world of difference in how I feel, and it is almost immediate. Immersing myself in whatever I am doing, no matter how mundane, is so important to keeping my mind engaged, so it’s more difficult for my mind to wander. That is challenging for me because when I’m doing something pretty mindless, my worrisome thoughts tend to take up space in my head and I lose my connection with my body.
Yesterday, I was washing the dinner dishes, and forced myself to pay attention to what I was doing, being mindful of the soap bubbles, the texture of the sponge, the warmth of the water. I was aware of my surroundings and was actually given a gift. Outside my kitchen window was a beautiful hummingbird feeding on the nectar of a summer bloom. I would have missed that had I not been fully engaged in what I was doing. The tagline for our blog reads living in the beauty of the present moment, and we have to remember that even when the rest of the world is having a difficult time seeing that, we as humans, as beautiful souls always have a choice. How do you find peace?
“If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear. ” – Confucius