I have always been an active person. I feel most comfortable in my skin when I’m in motion. At every point in my life I’ve been involved in some sort of physical activity; from dance to track and field, from lifting weights to practicing yoga, I’ve always found a way to move my body.
This year, particularly this month, all of that has come to a halt.
You see, I injured my shoulder at the start of the year. This forced me to stop practicing yoga at various points throughout the year. But each time I had my eyes set on my next practice. I would dive right back into my practice, going as hard as I could, until the pain came back.
This month, the pain came back like never before. Every yoga pose (even gentle ones) made the pain worse. In fact, just about every kind of movement made the pain worse. Washing dishes, sweeping, reaching into cabinets, brushing my hair, and even walking were all difficult on my body. Luckily, some physical therapy exercises started to bring me back to normal.
However, days after I began my PT regimen, I got sick. At this point I no longer had the energy to do my exercises…or anything else for that matter.
And right when I started to heal, I got all four of my wisdom teeth removed.
So here I am, on my ass again.
Over the last year, I have gotten super frustrated every time I was forced to be still. I couldn’t wait to move again, and I did everything I could to avoid having to sit still with myself. I knew that my meditation practice was there waiting for me, but I was just so resistant to it. I didn’t want to sit still. I wanted to fight against my body instead of listening to it.
This time though, it’s pretty clear that my body is begging me to sit still. So I’m finally ready to listen.
I’ve been pondering the season of winter lately. I’ve started to notice the subtle stillness in winter. This is the season where the trees have shed their unnecessary leaves, green grass has withered away, and the animals have gone into hibernation. There’s even a subtle quietness in the air, unlike any other season.
But up until this year, I’ve been too busy to notice the silence. I’ve been waiting in anticipation for spring, too preoccupied to sit still and simply notice.
I realize now that I have a lot to learn from winter. As I’ve said “yes” to this season my body is asking me to enter into, I’ve begun to notice and feel stillness in a whole new way. My meditations usually consist of manta, breathing techniques or visualizations. Now, I just sit there (or lay there, depending on how I’m feeling) and allow myself to not think; to not do anything at all. Nothing extravagant happens, but the profundity is deep.
And what I’m learning from this season of stillness is that if I get quiet enough inside, I find that there is a place inside of me, underneath my thoughts, underneath my personality and my ego. This place inside is simply still. And this place replenishes me, much like the hibernating animals are replenished by their long sleep.
Right now, I have no choice but to embrace this season of stillness. All I can do is participate in it, and hope that it gives me the fuel to start my 2017 off with skillful action.
I have to wonder what my life would look like if I took these still moments on a regular basis. What if I took a “Sabbath” of sorts, to do nothing but listen? I imagine what would happen is that I would be more in touch with myself than ever. I think that if I regularly took rest and refuge in that still place inside of me, I would be able to show up more fully for myself, my loved ones, and for my work.
Even though I am in pain, even though I am dying to go on a run or take a yogaHour class, I give thanks to my body for bringing me to this place. I give thanks to this body that knows what I need at all times. In 2017, I resolve to actively give thanks to my body by taking time to truly rest within. I make this resolution because I see no other choice any more. This body is all I’ve got. It’s time I start listening to it.
What do you resolve to do in this new year?