In the words of Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Life has indeed been moving pretty fast this week, especially. In the new normal that everyone is experiencing (except the spring breakers) the outside world is changing seemingly moment to moment and yet for many of us, personally, it’s never moved slower. We are with ourselves, with the basics of our life ALL DAY LONG.
We are being pushed up against some of the things we frequently can ignore, deny or distract from with work, social activities and in-person events . All of that is currently on hiatus but as the popular meme that’s been running around social media reminds us:
What also hasn’t been canceled, or is harder to refute, is who we are as humans on the very core level and how we best operate. We have a basic need for and reliance on interconnectedness. The magnitude of how much we truly are wired to need one another becomes more apparent each day. We are social creatures. Some maybe more than others, as I am a self-proclaimed introvert with extroverted qualities, but the other Vitamin C (connection) is what also keeps us healthy and whole.
The essence of this has been brewing in my mind since I was out Sunday for a walk. The new social distancing, and as some others like to call it physical distancing, was already making itself known in loud and obvious body language that nearly screamed. And yet what was also apparent was the friendliness: the waving, the smiling, the eye contact.
So while driving home, I passed a car with the license plate that read: sangha
As a yoga teacher, I know Sanskrit when I see it and this caused me to smile. This word means community or association. Two things that were (and are) so integrated into our lives that they were nearly invisible and yet everywhere at the same time. it’s like waking up and knowing your own name. It doesn’t occur to you to ponder or wonder, unless something is awry.
And just like that, as the restrictions and the recommendations became more stringent here in Ohio, the sangha became more apparent and obvious. The reaching out, the outdoor activity. I maybe never have seen so many people outside walking, playing tennis and doing things together in my life. And many of the people I see are not on their phones, they are engaged in conversation, although maybe at somewhat of a distance with their walking companion.
This is truly what it means to Be Well at this time in March 2020. We are thoughtful about what we bring to others (physically and emotionally). We are thoughtful about how we care for ourselves. We are mindful of what our life was/and is.
Some of the parameters are being written for us at the moment but many of us are being given a bit of a permission slip to step back from the chaos, step back from the act of being busy, and to contemplate if we want to return to our lives the same way we stepped out of them.
What do you want your sangha to be about when you are able to physically return to it? What are you doing to keep it bolstered now while we have some space from it in ways we may not normally?
In what ways is the physical distancing actually drawing your people closer?
Nothing, as much as we may protest, is ever all bad or all good. There can be silver linings while not appreciating what storm brought them to us. We can grow and transform from this and not necessarily always love the experience.
Embrace your sangha, cultivate a new one, and/or think about how this can make us better.
And one of the best to offer advice about difficult times is our other friend, G, as in author Glennon Doyle.
“You have been offered “the gift of crisis”. As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift”, as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.” ― Glennon Doyle, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed
Lowi & G