Detachment and Balance
I was going about my work day when I got a notification from my Co-Star astrology app. It simply said, "You detach when things feel unbalanced." I felt like I had been slapped. It was a ray of light shining into the darkest parts of my psyche, and lighting up a little wooden box I had somehow known was there all along, but had never looked into. That one sentence resonated in every area of my life, now -- in this very moment.
I was detached, and in the process of detaching, and considering future detachment. I was an automaton, reacting to an equation. Imbalance + time = detachment. I have done it over and over. When an expectation is not met, I separate myself. From jobs, from friends, from partners, from media, from society, from myself, from my body...
I realized that I have a tendency to prefer definites. Black and white choices, this or that, a one or a zero -- and when it comes to making tough choices, it seems like the least emotionally messy route. It doesn't, however, allow for the more subtle and important parts of situations and relationships, things like closure and completion, compassion and forgiveness. I also realized that the only partnership I trust is my own self-reliance. And I don't even really trust that.
The more I looked, the more I realized just how many things (and people) I have detached myself from over the years. And the more I looked, the more I saw myself blaming others for the imbalance that caused the separation. It was a bittersweet revelation. I was choosing calculated cold indifference over righting the overturned table and re-balancing the scales. Things may have been easily handled, had I attempted conversation, a meeting of minds, partnership in recreating balance. I had the tools. I had the knowledge. I chose not to use them.
What struck me even more was my own internal imbalances. Especially in the light of three months of a stay-at-home order, and all that extra time available to look, and go deep inside who I am and see what things are keeping me stuck in life. I was aware there were imbalances -- huge gaping holes that I have been navigating around, pretending they aren't there. I have been channeling my inner "tough girl" to get through things I felt my soft side would get crushed under the weight of. I have been comfort eating and becoming more and more unwell, rather than choosing carefully what my body needs and will benefit from. I have been pushing people away, out of fear -- not just of COVID, but also of their political views, opinions, and assertions -- and other reasons.
Just as in the silence of staying at home, I discovered imbalance -- it is in the silence of meditation and mindfulness that I now choose to create a new balance -- and from this newfound internal balance, I can daily re-create balance in all the other areas of my life.
Sounds easy, right?
Ease is a perception. In order for me to understand meditation and its benefits fully, I had to spend 4 weeks in an ashram in India learning how to be quiet. I had to experience a routine of intentional stillness. I had to choose what my mind would think about in that silence, instead of letting it wander. I had to use my physical body as leverage to re-balance my mind. I was taught to employ yoga poses, Kriya and Pranayam to help my body shed residual energy, to ground and center so my mind could focus with less distraction from the imperfections and struggles of the physical body.
So was it easy for me? In the moment, in the stifling heat of India, I would have said no. In hindsight, I can honestly say that it was much easier than it could have been. I had the benefit of a tried and true system set up for me before I arrived. Thank you for that, Sattva Yoga Academy and Anand Mehotra. I also had a community of over 100 people joining me and supporting me on my journey. In hindsight, compared to the handful of people who supported this growth in me once I was back home in the states, it was so much easier than what I am facing attempting to create and maintain balance on my own.
Putting it into practice. If we are honest with ourselves, that's the part that truly requires dedication, devotion and diligence, isn't it, the practical application of what we've learned? Our daily lives are a different space and energy than a yoga retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas. So how does one do it? How does one create and maintain a balance in the shifting sand of these unprecedented times? That, dear friends, is the question I am asking myself daily, and the only answer I have found is to BE HERE NOW, and then to ask myself in that now, "What feels out of balance?" and "What can I add or subtract that will impact that balance?" and then, take action based on those answers. It seems simple enough. But what if realignment requires leaving that safe and secure job of 20 years? What if it means moving to another country? What if it means ending a meaningful relationship? What if it means leaving everything you know to spend 9 months in Nepal and India to find yourself?
You've got to go at the rate you can go.
Someone I love dearly gave me the book Remember: Be Here Now* by Ram Dass, long before I even considered going to India -- long before I knew I would practice yoga or train to be a yogi -- long before most of the contents therein would make any sense to me. Yet, her intuition knew I would need it, love it, and grow from it. Her particular psychic awareness knew I would need a book to chew on in 2020 -- one that would help me see clearly enough to recreate balance for myself. I have only begun to scratch the surface of everything inside its cover.
This year has been difficult. Things are changing. You are changing. I am changing, and at a rate neither of us were sure was possible. Keep going! You've got this! We are headed to something better!
I firmly believe this is for a reason. All of it. Dramatic imbalance so we know how good balance feels. Intense levels of detachment and loneliness, so we know what a joy true togetherness is. Painful molting of our old ways, our skin, so we can remember the shiny, new smoothness of renewal. Shedding of all the things that we've become attached to that are actually holding us back and stifling our growth.
Your dedication and continuous effort is not going unnoticed. Your hard work will produce fruit. It will happen at the rate it happens, and that, is perfect.
So much love.
Hari Om, Tat Sat - I wish you no suffering
*If you are so inclined, click the book's title above to purchase directly from Ram Dass and his organization, rather than Amazon. It is more affordable, and supports an amazing organization. I have no affiliation with Ram Dass. I just believe in supporting those who support my growth.