Call to Action: Priority Shift
Now is the time to reassess our priorities, both individually and societally, to build a better, healthier future.
As much as it is an inconvenience to be under these quarantine mandates (not to mention the scariness of the uncertainty and the worry that comes with the circumstances making these measures necessary), there are certain benefits of a world wide pause in most of our usual ways of moving through the world. Our air is cleaner, our waters are clearer, our environment is quieter, and we all have a little more space to breath and rest.
Personally, I have been taking this suspension of “hands-on” time to get caught up with the non-tangible aspects of my business and my life. And within that, I have noticed an interesting pattern emerge, showing me where my priorities in life actually fall. And those priorities are a little bit skewed.
I strive to practice what I preach. When I ask my clients to mobilize joints, it is because I have seen the benefits in my own bodymind from this type of movement. When I advise daily abdominal massage, it is because I have done so myself for years and know the good it does. However, when I advise meditation, or more rest, or eating regular meals, those are things that I know are good and have at one point felt the boost it gives my life, but, confession time, I do not live consistently.
Sleep. Sustenance. Stillness. These are the umbrellas I can never seem to keep open.
You may be familiar with the excuses I give myself, which happen to also be many of the excuses I’ve heard. “I don’t have time to do that now.” “I’ll do it after I finish this one more thing.” “I’m not that hungry.” “I’ll do it later.” “This is more important right now.” “I just need to push through this.” Our boss on the phone. The lead we might miss. Some opportunity that might pass. All of these things that culminate in disconnecting from ourselves and downplaying of the importance of the messages our bodyminds send making us suppress our hunger, or thirst, or fatigue, or movement, or stress.
But when did finishing a spreadsheet become a higher priority than eating? Why does watching that second (or 5th) episode become more important than sleep? Who is saying that constantly moving and pushing is more valuable than taking a moment to inhale and exhale? How did we get to a place in society where it is not only acceptable, but expected that our basic human needs, the communications from our bodymind, the activities that keep us alive and healthy and able to exist and participate in the world are the last thing on our to do lists?
Some of the answers go all the way back to Descartes and his deal with the Church to separate body and mind for the sake of allowing anatomy research to continue. Some are found in the Protestant-work-ethic principles of the colonizers of America. That discussion would also better fit in an entirely separate post.
The main point: now is the time to reassess these priorities both individually and societally. It is insane to have a world in which we are supposed to squeeze our bodymind’s basic physiological, structural, and emotional needs around our work time. It is absolutely nuts that these habits are ingrained to the point where we find “more important things” to do even when we are in a position to pause and listen to inner intelligence. It is crazy that we teach the younger generations to do the same.
We can choose differently.
If you are working from home at the moment, start your day out listening to your inner self. When does your mindbody naturally want to wake up? What does it feel like to start your day out with exercise? How does it feel to start with quiet space to read, or journal, or meditate? Are you hungry? Eat. Tired? Take a nap. Brain fried? Do something else for a while. I have a feeling that you are going to find yourself far more energized and responsive than in your usual day, and you will probably surprise yourself with how much less time your work seems to take.
If you are not working at all right now, do a complete overhaul. What has your bodymind been asking for that you have been putting off? With your excuses of limited time and too busy gone, what are the real reasons you haven’t started? Commit to a daily breathwork practice. Commit to standing in the sun for at least 10 minutes a day. Commit to figuring out what you would like your life to look like (I feel compelled to remind you that it can change later), and then commit to taking at least one action a day to bring your vision to fruition.
Have kids? All of the above applies. (I say this without having children of my own, so I am speaking from the perspective of someone who still remembers what it was like to be one.) Let kids honor their own natural learning process. Encourage deep connection with their mindbody. Trust your kids to be able to hear what is best for them and show them they can openly come to you for help navigating that path.
These next few weeks are going to be like nothing in living memory. And in so many ways that is spectacular! Much in our world is off balance and during this time we can come together, individually, to restore the collective homeostasis. The lessons we allow ourselves to learn now could change our world for the better, forever.