Today a friend and I were both feeling down, so I proposed we do yoga together over Zoom video.
Can I be honest with you, Melanie? They said.
I don’t want to do yoga right now. I am so angry, I want to hit something.
I responded, kickboxing?
Here is a silly video arising out of that encounter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLCimH5uo-A&feature=youtu.be
It turns out that I too wanted to hit something. I’ve been struggling lately with constriction and anger in my mind, alongside dark storm clouds of fear and dread in my belly. The truth is, I have been hitting things and people (including myself), not in physical punches but in blame, dismissal, and ignorance.
I’ve been denying my own fear and anxiety, trying to escape into joy. Today, I stumbled upon a talk with Lama Rod Owens and Tara Brach. Lama Rod said something on fear that stuck with me: “Being, for me, means allowing the fear to be there. Feeding the fear spaciousness. And in my practice I call that loving.”
Meeting anger and fear doesn’t need to look a particular way. It does not have to be restorative yoga when what’s needed is kickboxing or karate. I cannot predict in advance what things will allow my emotions to flow through me with spaciousness and what will impede my energy. I simply try things out to see if they’re nourishing, and in my resilience, I keep trying.
I was surprised at the joy that arose in me today -- spontaneous, fresh, bubbly joy. I was not trying to be a good practitioner or to build equanimity. Just to be a good friend. And what arose was joy.
On another happy note: If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area come August, we at “Sit. Walk. Listen” are organizing a morning of contemplation and stillness in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Sunday, August 2 from 11am-1pm. We offer this space to you for being with whatever is arising in you during this time, and to bear witness to others in your community too.
For now and always, dear ones, I hope you are finding moments of nourishment and joy. I hope you have space for being and resting and playing, and are happy and healthy enough.