In a recent post-workout comment to my coach, I wrote that I got through it thanks to accountability—to myself, to the process, and to him. I could say that something similar is true for most days right now.
I’ve been in Spanish lockdown confinement for over seven weeks. Because I live alone, this means that my only interactions have been once or twice a week when visiting the small, weekly market to purchase fresh produce or a health food store for other items. And since I don’t speak Catalan or Spanish there’s been no dialogue. For the first five weeks, I actually welcomed the time to cocoon myself. As a result of the global pandemic, our world is provided with a ‘Gift of Pause’; a pause that offers space for reflection. I’m not in any way discounting the pain and hardship that befalls many people because of this situation, nor the fact that I have it pretty damn good in comparison. But I am giving recognition to the fact that it’s often through calamity and discomfort that we learn and grow.
As I meditated in the expanded quietness, I began to notice how I was, at times, causing pain in myself and others through some of my written speech and actions. I made a commitment to feel it deeply and then refocus that energy to be more loving, compassionate, and supportive, with the aim of consciously choosing togetherness and connection.
The fruit of this internal work—whether it be sweet or sour—won’t be truly revealed for some time; I most certainly feel that I have much to learn. Yet, the initial harvest commenced two weeks ago as reticent solitude turned to frustrated isolation. I’m a person who needs a lot of quiet time (especially in nature), but forced desolation (and no time with canines) tends to wreak havoc on my mental well-being. I knew a downward slide had started when patience began to wane and dark thoughts manifest.
Gāyatrī Mantra / Sāvitrī Mantra
(The poem of the Divine /
Hymn to Savitur, the sun god)
Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát Savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
Bhárgo devásya, dhīmahi
Dhíyo yó naḥ prachodayāt
The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds.
May the Almighty God
the giver of light and life (the sun, Savitur)
illuminate our intellect
to lead us along the righteous path.
It’s said that the process of process is process. For me, this means to continually clarify what I’m committed to and why. By doing so, I encourage consistency in walking the path, while also providing a positive focus instead of rumination. As a person with autistic, compulsive, and addictive tendencies it’s important to have the quiet sage voice on one shoulder to counter the devil that can appear on the other.
My first step in dealing with the negative trend was to acknowledge what was occurring. Avoiding it and attempting to sweep it under a rug only ever leads to a bigger pile to stumble over and clean up later. Having taken stock of the situation, I started leaning on the initial work I’d done in these weeks; work that included strengthening my morning and evening routines thereby further supporting healthy sleep, exercise and eating habits.
I share with you here a few aspects of my routines. In the morning, my days commence with a large glass of warm water, yerba mate preparation, meditation, and enjoying the sunrise. In the evening, I’ve found that revving down starts several hours before retiring for the day. During my trip to Tiruvannamalai, India earlier this year I observed the depth to which chanting positively affects me; as such, I’ve added it to my pre-bed practice. (It had already been a part of my morning routine.) I sit in the dark listening to and singing along with some kirtan, and then go straight to bed.
I don’t always feel like doing all the things that I know help me, nor do I always have time. (Some things, like daily meditation, are non-negotiable musts.) But there are a few elements in particular that I know have powerful affect. Eventually, this sequestration will end, and results of my pledge for transformation will be tested as I move through the world, both in real life and virtually. As such, I’m constantly encouraging myself to stay committed and to maintain accountability with myself, with the process, and with you my friends.
❝ The Self is certainly within the direct experience of everyone, but not in the way people imagine. It is only as it is.❞
~Sri Ramana Maharshi
✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏