I am really feeling a bit overwhelmed by the world lately. Are you?
I want to be an informed citizen but I honestly can’t stomach watching, reading or listening to the news much these days.
I’m curious how we balance engaging with the world, taking action, but not overreacting (or not hiding out completely)?
I received a lovely reminder this week from a dear friend who lives on the other side of the world. We correspond often to share insights on books, catch up on family life, nerd out on anatomy and in general commiserate over being a human. (Pen pals are simply the best by the way. I highly recommend finding one!) In her latest note she expressed her difficulty with transitioning into this season — Fall, socially, politically — and how big the world feels right now. In response she’s been focusing on the 4 S’s: space, sparse (minimalist), slow and silence.
I loved the 4 S’s so much I’ve been adopting them in my home practice and weaving them into my teaching. I’ve never been more convinced we need to take refuge every day — it is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Here’s what’s been working for me lately:
SPACE: Roll + release with massage therapy balls — I’ve been finding it difficult to breathe deeply and to express emotions and thoughts clearly. In TCM, the fall season is all about the lungs. So my home practice has been focused on releasing stress in the upper body + side waist as well as the neck + jaw through self-massage. Then I’ll get into a restorative shape, set my timer for 5-20 minutes and soak up the space.
SPARSE: Social media — I’m taking back some control over my relationship with social media. I’ve turned off the notifications on my phone and now choose a small window of time in the morning, afternoon and evening to engage. If I don’t hear the ping or see the dopamine filled hearts I’m less inclined to lose myself over to scrolling. My mind already feels a bit clearer from this conscious shift.
SLOW: Reading for pleasure — Most nights I set the intention to get in bed early to read, but instead I find myself reaching for my phone saying, “just 5 minutes to catch up on IG.” Then 30 minutes later I realize I’ve gone over to the dark side and wasted my quiet time. Can you relate?
SILENCE: Getting in bed when I register tiredness — How long does it take you to actually get in bed from the moment you recognize you're tired? I used to feel like there was something wrong with me for wanting to go to bed at 9:30pm so I would try to keep myself up later. Now I’m over the stigma and relish the early bed time. I naturally wake up early and forcing myself to stay up later left me feeling groggy and cranky in the morning.
I would love to hear how you’re coping in these odd times. Feel free to drop me a line and don’t forget to check out my resources pageto stay nourished.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching to mend the part that is within our reach.” -Clarissa Pinkola Estes
In search of space, silence, sparse and slow,