ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF RESOLVE, RESILIENCE + REST FOR CHALLENGING TIMES
When the world is seemingly turning into chaos, there has never been a more important time to FIND [OR RETURN TO] YOUR practice. BUT WHAT MIGHT THAT LOOK/SOUND/FEEL LIKE?
Watching the global news unfolding, one might find it excusable to slump into despair, fear, anger and even hatred. And yet, these are the precise energetic states that have brought —and continue to bring— us to the mess that we (the human race) find ourselves in today.
So how do we remain in a resourceful, resilient state in order to resolve the challenges we face?
It is relatively simple…we practice our foundation.
I say relatively, because other things in life get in the way, right? There is often a reason why not. Just a few more minutes doom scrolling, another snooze in bed…whatever it is for you, just notice it.
This post IS NOT intended to judge you for extra time doing anything that you’re currently enjoying or that brings you what you’re seeking.
This post IS, however, intended to breakdown WHY you might want to consider making some form of daily practice your resolve. On behalf of the months and years ahead, so you can be with the present moment, and discerning of what’s really going on.
If you are exhausted, you are more reactive and far less responsive. Much like in the safety briefing on an airplane, you put your own mask on first…
I argue that now is the most important time to commit to self, and show up to practice. Regardless how many minutes or hours you do or don’t have spare, practice SOMETHING. Even if that is a moment to breathe, a walk in nature, one simple posture, one tiny clip of time away from all screens, no stimulation, simply being still and observing.
ONE // THE BODY: WHY MOVE IT?
I could sit and list the benefits of physical exercise and movement, but I am going to assume you know enough already, and remember, this post wasn’t to judge or make you feel bad. Regardless of what/where/when/how you move your body, let’s assume you know you ‘should’ move. For the purpose of this section, I’ll focus on a space that is fairly native to me: The practice of yoga.
The word ‘yoga’ can be translated to mean unite or combine, however consider its translation as ‘to integrate’. In this practice we guide ourselves to move and be present with and in the body.
We use breath as the key thread on the journey to both flexibility and stability. We open joints and strengthen muscles. We can see/hear/feel/experience how the body moves, how it may be more willing to remain in one posture over another.
By being with and in the body, we come out of the head, which is where we spend most of the day. Strip away all the jazzy language and exotic names of postures: Yoga is intended to prepare the body for stillness and to allow the mind to settle. In this way, both the goal and the output is integration: Body and mind; ultimately self and other.
Let’s expand this…
The question becomes what type of physical + mental experience are you choosing for your self?
The practice is in noticing, observing, witnessing what is happening, moment by moment, day by day. This can be referred to as taking an objective perspective. We can be objective to the ‘object’ of the body relatively easily, when we intentionally make time to do so.
Being objective to our mind is, however, another story…
TWO // THE MIND: WHY OBSERVE IT?
Our mind is a subjective reality all of its own making. The felt sense in our body is made up of impulses that travel, electrically, communicating to the mind. The mind makes meaning (psycho—logical) around the body’s (physio—logical) micro-communications. It is the meaning making that therefore informs our state.
In other words the specific felt, heard, sensed ‘meaning-made’ reality that you experience in mind can be accessed only by you. No-one else perceives the world EXACTLY as you do. Your perspective is therefore only ‘real’ for you. And yet how often do you take it to be the truth, in the larger sense of the word?
What would the world be like if there was an expectation everyone else should see things EXACTLY as you do? Take a look around, this is to a large extent our reality.
We have become a species which is, as a majority, referent to the self. The self is the referent point, the locus of our attention. Humankind is focused on/obsessed by the self – self-made, selfie, self-care and so on. And yet the ‘self’, as it were, is merely a partial fraction of reality. This ‘self’ is only real, relatively speaking.
Allow me to contextualise this point…
Our personality exists only in the mind. It is subjective. It is informed by our parents/caregivers. We take on thoughts, behaviours, values, and ultimately our identity, in the face of the same thoughts, behaviours etc shown by our primary caregiver/s. We form our sense of self either in polarity to them, or as a positive match. Either way, we’ve formed ourselves in the face of them, making meaning and filtering reality with the intangibly tinted lenses of eyewear that we’ve inherited (albeit unwittingly).
So if our personality is formed in the face of our parents, and theirs in the face of their parents (and so on), then the personality is not only constructed, but it is formed intergenerationally.
Some of this construction may well have value, and be considered ‘positive’ (you do ‘good’ work in the world, you are a ‘fun’ person and so on), but the point here is to recognise that if you were made in this way, so are others. At a highly charged, highly ‘personal’ moment in history, the intergenerational fabrication as to how we feel, think, speak and act is therefore not entirely personal… You may or may not be ready to hear this point.
‘How can it NOT be personal?’ I hear you ask. You are partially correct. I do not profess to excuse anyone else’s poor behaviour just as I haven’t dodged my own actions in my past life, of which the foundations were based on struggle.
When we start to see our environment collapse, and the systems within it either be tested, or simply crumble, it means that they are not fit for purpose. They serve the few, not the many. It is at times like this that the spaciousness in mind, and objectivity over our patterned behaviours is VITAL. If we are to solve the world’s problems, it can only done as a collective, and only with full capacity to be creative.
When we reject other people, we fail to see that we are rejecting a part of the whole of humanity that whether we like it or not, must be brought to the ‘good’ side, as it were. They must be dealt with. Look up the word ‘manipulate’ in the dictionary and you will find the words ‘to skilfully handle’. We must skilfully handle ourselves FIRST, in order to do the same with others. We must be able to discern how to engage, when to strategise, where to expend valuable resources.
Having discernment around behaviours, and how they are formed —for both self and other— begins to allow us to see some intergenerational roadmap if you will. Parts of this roadmap are resourceful to solving our crises, some are not. Some of us are awake to our problems, some are not.
Discernment is precisely what makes the difference between an all out fight, and an articulate, strategic gameplan. We MUST be able to see the bigger system at play, MUST be able to retain sight of what is going on:
This all starts with the self.
If (and only IF) I, we, you want to live in a world that is more spacious, more compassionate and more loving, we must first create these things inside of ourselves. In fact, think of it not as ‘creating’: Consider it to be ‘RECLAIMING’ them from hundreds of years of insufficient conditioning.
It’s not for me to say that what you are feeling in the face of today isn’t true or real, but it does point to the power and influence your conditioning and memories of the past has over you.
At times like this, our resilience against caving into fear is just as vital as our creativity:
The mind can be put to work toward a possible alternate trajectory. Consider how optimally it can function when it is clear and free.
There is no time for blame and distractions. This moment is calling us forth; to collate what is working; to edit out what is not; to be both meticulous and highly intentional in a cohesive, collective approach to our problems.
Either we all join in, or we all fail.
N.B. Did you know that the neurological channels for memory and imagination are the same…? Fear can just as easy be turned into fuel, or even excitement.
THIRD // FLOW: HOW ARE YOU living in resistance?
We have two choices: We can either live in resistance to our life and the world around us, or in harmony with both.
This is NOT to say that there isn’t work ahead, for there is no doubt about that.
That is also NOT to say that things won’t get challenging, for it already is and will doubtlessly become harder.
However the questions become:
How or where are you working against the ebb and flow of this experience called life?
How or where are you working against it?
If you are not practicing self-awareness, then it is far more difficult to be objective to both yourself, those around you, this world and all the systems working within it.
If you are not objective, then you will doubtlessly be struggling in the face of your own subjective reality, struggling to see the bigger picture. Remember, this reality is a result of years and years of that intergenerational conditioning I touched upon earlier.
Pardon my language here, but that s**t is exhausting.
What dis-integrates us is precisely how and why we are on the precipice of such major collective transition.
The invitation is to be clear about where and how you are expending your most precious resources – your time and energy: My offer is not to waste them being distracted, unresourcefully.
Activism, campaigning, and finding a solution to the challenges we face requires creativity and clarity. These both require space. And rest.
Whether we like it or not, we are a collective, infinitely connected, and we’ve got work to do.
This work requires leadership.
That leadership starts with ALL OF US.
Which means it starts with YOU.
So: How is your practice going? Whether you practice yoga, meditation, journaling or not, can you find a way to invite resolve, resilience and rest into your daily vocabulary and practice?