Hello, my dear tribe!
For some reason it feels appealing to address you all as my tribe. Maybe because of the general feelings of isolation and divisiveness that are surfacing in the collective as we come upon the completion of our third month of pandemic reality (unreality). Maybe because of the deep understanding that has come to me in the last three months of just how important it is to know and feel that we are not alone and that we have a healthy and intact support system. You all are part of my healthy and intact support system. By allowing me to share my thoughts and ideas with you, and you sometimes responding and sharing yourselves with me in that way, I feel seen. I feel valued. I feel like I am of service.
Feeling ‘of service’ is important to me. So much so, that when this all started, I felt inspired to offer some weekly online yoga classes (both independently and for a local studio). And you all responded positively to it, and in turn felt supported. In that small way I was a part of your support system. I know that it was out of my love for you all that I felt inclined to offer online yoga classes. I know this because it doesn’t come naturally to me to teach or practice yoga online.
I discovered (or maybe confirmed is a better word), after 6 weeks of teaching yoga online, that it is not a good fit for me. I found that it was irritating to my nervous system, my adrenals and my psyche. I was meditating and walking daily to maintain my balance, while offering a yoga practice to you (to hopefully help you to maintain your balance.) At week 7, I finally had to call it quits. I was no longer able to rise above my own stressors with online yoga teaching. It was humbling to have to acknowledge my limitations in this regard. And it was liberating to fully honor my own needs.
For the last decade or so, I have been learning about how to be of service without it taking such a toll on me. In other words, I’ve been learning what sorts of services I can offer to others that don’t feel like a burden to me. When I was a full time educator I learned that I was of great service to my students, and, that being a traditional classroom teacher was incredibly stressful for me. (This topic came up in an interview I did with VoyageDenver recently.) As a healer, I have learned that working with people individually, I am of great service to people, and, it never feels like a burden to me. No matter what I feel like before a session, I always feel better after I work with someone.
I continue to better understand who I am and how I can be of service. As of late, I’m specifically exploring my adaptability, and how that adaptability has evolved. In my youth, being adaptable meant I was good at making the best out of shitty situations. In my adulthood, it has been more about learning how to avoid shitty situations. Now, as I near a half a century of life, I am learning that adaptability is more about recognizing the areas in which I am more or less able to adapt. It is learning to understand and honor that there are some things that I can be tremendously flexible about, and there are other things that simply don’t fit for me, and will never feel right to me.
This has helped me to understand that being of service to others is important to me, and being of service to myself is critical. It’s still challenging for me. It doesn’t feel particularly natural for me to say, “I don’t have anything to give to others right now. I’m just managing to keep myself healthy by focusing on self-care.” It’s not that this need is new to me. Or even the action of focusing on caring for myself. What is new is the deeper understanding that it isn’t really optional, and it doesn’t come after everything else. It’s no longer what I do “if I have time.” It is now the number one priority. And that is okay, and it doesn’t mean that I’m no longer an adaptable person who can be of great service to others.
I’m curious what you all have discovered about your limitations and adaptability in month three of the pandemic. What are you coming to understand about yourself and how you respond to usual and unusual situations? What are you finding are some of your central needs? What do you miss the most about your life pre-pandemic? What are you glad to have seen go? I would truly love to hear from you about this. Reply to this email and let me know.
I would encourage everyone to try more self-care. Yes, even more. I used to think people who were good at self-care were selfish. I’m now starting to think that superb self-care might be the only way to truly be of service. Hmm!?
I love you all and hope that you are staying well,
P.S. Here’s how I’m caring for myself. I am walking in nature a lot. I’m talking to Mother Earth about my concerns. I am meditating and I am doing a lot of pranayama (breathing practices). I am gardening and eating fresh food out of my garden. I am watching light-hearted movies (I often go months without turning my TV on.) I am spending time with loved ones who fill me up (on the phone or in person), and I am avoiding loved ones that deplete me. And sometimes, I just stare at the ceiling.
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.