Within the last few weeks the sky has grown clearer and the plants more vibrant. Wildflowers are blossoming on vacant lots and tree branches are reaching across walkways, causing pedestrians to bow down or walk aside. Fragrances from the lilacs, jasmine, and roses add a sweetness to the air. Throughout the day, the sound of songbirds has replaced the usual murmur of traffic.
I am deeply grateful for the luxury to pause and notice nature as our species grapples with unfathomable levels of change and loss. Even those of us with basic comforts are jarred into discovering new patterns and rhythms, letting go of a sense of predictability and control, and having courage to face the emotional and mental effects of our separateness from touch and togetherness.
It has been a gift to observe nature’s dynamic and multi-dimensional response to the slowing of our human activity. It reminds me that we are part of a dynamic bio-organism, with inbuilt systems and feedback loops for adjusting to disturbances and changes. While our protocol of physical distancing supports our bodily and mental immunity, the rest of nature is actively practicing resilience.
Each part is part of a resilient whole. When we look at the word “universe,” we see this word no longer holds any meaning if any of the letters were missing. All is part of a larger family with a collective of diverse, individual stories. Natural intelligence weaves all of life together. The pandemic challenges us to shift our inner dial toward more conscious living with shared values of honoring our nature-, human- and ancestral-kin, as we reconnect with the transformative and caring qualities of gratitude and love.
When we tune into a reverent, holistic attitude toward life, then perhaps we will find that the universe that we thought was out there somewhere has always been within. Until then, I wish you safety, resilience, and wellness.
This short practice supports bodily awareness.
- Find a comfortable seated position on the floor or in a chair.
- If you are on a chair, rest the soles of your feet on the floor.
- Inhale and sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead. On an exhale, sweep your arms down to your sides.
- Soft, gentle, movements and breath.
- Still seated, acknowledge the different parts of your body. Lightly place one hand on each part of the body in the following sequence.
- Torso area: Heart, lower belly, navel, upper chest, throat.
- Upper Limbs: right hand, left hand, right arm, left arm.
- Lower Limbs: both feet (if you can’t touch your feet, no worries, Instead, just point toward them), both legs.
- Head: nose, mouth, eyes, cheeks, ears, crown of the head.
- Note: For the areas around your face, e.g., eyes, you can just imagine the touch.
- Pause and breathe 6 breaths.
- Repeat. At each part of the body, say “You are an integral part of the whole.”
Transition back into your day –
- Come to a seated position.
- If comfortable, close your eyes. Otherwise, invite a soft focus to your gaze. Invite your breathing to be gentle and comfortable.
- Sit quietly for as long as is comfortable.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 103, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2020.
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