Cat From The Mat


If there’s anything we have learned from pandemic life, it is that we affect one another.  We share the same air, space, and sources of food and water.  We have similar emotional experiences like fear, anger, sadness, joy, and pain.  And whether you have been solo in quarantine or busting at the seams in a full household, you might also have been experiencing a  sense of isolation.  As social beings, we humans live in relationship with others.  We thrive in community.  And during this pandemic “pause,” we have been forced to contend with the relationship that we have with our own selves.

Before Covid, I was often on the move.  The grass did not grow beneath my feet.  I was flying all over the world for work and adventures.  Even when home,  I was on the proverbial gerbil wheel of life, as if running as fast as I can and still not keeping up.

Then overnight, the world slowed down and came to a standstill.  The spinning wheel stopped, and I was grounded.  Cancelled gigs, no socializing, and work segued to an online format.  This abrupt halt has been jarring.  It’s also demanded a practice of adapting to constantly changing terra ferma, if solid at all. 

Grounded like a teenager, I was unable to enjoy the freedoms that I once had. And yet,  I found new liberations.   I had time to sleep without setting an alarm.  I finally had the chance to sift through my long “to do” list.  Besides completing tasks, I finally had the bandwidth to address my metaphorical pile of stuff to process.  At the bottom of the stack, I discovered all sorts of emotional issues with which I had yet to contend.

I began to excavate outdated belief systems that were fueling my behavior for most of my life.  I found parts of myself that I had exiled or had been ignored.  And rather than having contempt for my fearful, sad, angry, or lonely selves, I got to know them.  Befriending my pain helped me not only metabolize undigested experiences still living in my tissues, I also found company and solace in my whole persevering self.

I learned that I had value, not because of what I had accomplished, but because I merely existed.  Until now, I thought that I had to earn my place in the world.  Maybe my busyness translated into me feeling worthy or important? If so, it’s no wonder I have been so exhausted on that damn gerbil wheel, rarely feeling satiated!

The world is beginning to open up again and I want to make sure that I do not fall prey to my old beliefs.  I do not want to go back to where we all were.  The global issues we are facing have been revealed.  We can no longer use the excuse that we did it know about the glaring inequities in the world.  Change is never comfortable, but if we are to grow with new shared awareness, then we all can transform as a society.

Yoga is often defined as “Union.”  This involves awareness, attunement, and most of all relationship.  If you look at the body as a whole, each part plays a role in the functioning of the whole organism.  Every part contributes and has an effect on another part.   When there’s an injury, the body compensates to keep you functioning.

As community members, our actions impact others.  Cultivating compassion is learning to be curious about yourself and others.  It’s an endeavor of understanding what might be motivating another’s behavior.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree.  Being complacent and complicit never makes change.  And these shifts need to occur simultaneously on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and societal realms, if we are to evolve as a species.

In what ways can you make friends with and celebrate all the parts of yourself? How can you make room for a full spectrum of experience, especially the unfamiliar aspects of yourself?  Which ideas about your inner and outer worlds can you question and test to see if they are hindering or helping your personal growth?  Most of all can befriending yourself open up the space to be curious about others?

As you blossom into spring, I encourage you to take the lessons learned from the past year of grounding and integrate them into what’s next for you.  Your life might have changed drastically or subtlety, but I can guarantee that you are not the same person from a year ago.  May we be thankful for such movement and growth.  Happy Earth Day!

Cat From the Mat

April 2021