Some months ago in my writing, I opened up about my journey with hypochondria, or more specifically, cancerophobia. It was triggered when I lost my aunt to aggressive breast cancer in 2017, and my own fear strikes, repeatedly. Some days I gracefully surf its waves; other times I get dragged under a riptide, surface to cough up a bucketload of sea water, and then climb back on my board, hopeful for calmer waters.
You can only imagine how frustrated I was when the most recent wave hit last month. Yet again. I was disappointed and, to be honest, utterly betrayed by my toolbox of spiritual practices. How is it that I am back where I started after years of spiritual self-help and healing journeys? What did I have to show for my diligence? I was jaded. Never mind that time was on my side with this circuit breaker situation; I kept a 10-foot distance from my meditation cushion and any form of spiritual literature. Instead, I threw myself into physically demanding workouts, and even willingly signed up for a HIIT class (that's when I knew I must have gone off the deep end). More endorphins? Yes please, hit me up. Work through my fear again? No thanks, not today.
A few days into my boycott, with my aching legs propped up on a chair, I bluntly shared with a friend over Zoom that I had lost all faith in my sadhana (spiritual practice). To that she simply offered: "But have you considered where you would be now if you didn't have those practices in the first place?"
Wow. She's a wise one.
I had rejected my spiritual practice for its lack of solutions and answers, all this while taking for granted the inner armoury it had supported me to cultivate through the years. So, the morning after that conversation, I woke up before the sun, sipped on my daily tonic of warm lime water, and sheepishly sat down on my meditation cushion once more, and every morning since.
I wish I could tell you that I've figured it all out since then, but no, I haven't — I'm not anywhere close. What I've found instead is a renewed appreciation of slow fixes, and a steely resolve to dive into the depths of my mind and conduct what Vipassanā teacher S.N. Goenka called "surgical operations of the mind". After which I suture my wounds with a healing balm of dance, yoga asana, and restorative practices to soothe my nervous system.
Reconnecting with these deeply restorative practices reminded me how important and delicious it is to slow down, and how much I enjoy holding space for the collective power of surrender. I have revised my live Zoom offerings for the rest of this month to reflect that. As I'd shared in the special yin yoga journey I taught last Thursday, while it may feel like we are not doing that much physically, all the work is actually happening on the inside. And trust me, from someone who's been up, down and around and around, the inner work is really what counts.
Something my teacher Emily Kuser shared on her February training has etched itself in my mind. "Aren't you sick of a classroom setup where all eyes are on the teacher, as if he or she has all the answers?" she asked us, as she explained why our mats were arranged to face one another. "I don't have all the answers. Maybe you do. Or you. Or you. We're all in this together."
With all my love,