In the Bay Area, and beyond, we have been going through a lot of rapid changes and unexpected outcomes. For a lot of us, our ground has been shaken and, as a result, our sense of balance has been destabilized. At the psychological/emotional level, these changes have felt as a harsh “fall”, threatening our sense of security, integrity, and safety.
These kind of experiences are not so new to me. As a child growing up in Mexico, I constantly saw social upheavals. I was part of demonstrations and social activism. I saw police aggression, government abuse, and so on. Even my brothers, once, had to go into hiding as they were persecuted for inciting a social movement.
How did I respond to these events? How do we respond in times of crisis? As a teenager, I observed quietly, not knowing how the fear was crawling into my body, creating trauma and disconnection from my own body. It took many years and much self-reflexion to understand the impact certain experiences had had on my body, the loss of trust in the world around me, and what I needed to do in order to heal.
When we “fall”, or when things fall apart, there is a new generated emotional energy that can be very intense. Mexican Traditional Medicine, and most ancient practices, agree that this energy needs to be released, or else it will create disease. How do we turn things around to make conscious, compassionate choices and use the energy to heal, awaken, and transform?
Personally, I have taken time alone to meditate, to go deeper into my yoga practice and my connection to nature. I realize that during turbulent times, we have two choices: to feel doomed, or to bloom. I also realize that, usually, nothing happens suddenly (there is always a cause and effect) and that, with faith, we have the power to create the changes we want to see in ourselves and around us.
Today, because of our current politics, and their impact in the world we live in, my first instinct had been to sink into a hole of sadness, but my body and mind know better. Yes, I have allowed myself to be sad and given my body time to digest the rigidity and tightness that my emotions have been creating. As a Yogini, I cultivate connection to both: my strength and my vulnerability. Having said this, I strive for freedom in all its forms; this includes freeing myself from the suffering, rigidity, and disconnections and attachments that fears create.
As a Yogini, I also know that when we lose our balance, one needs to look at what is creating the disconnection. This includes, first of all, our internal body and our foundation; our alignment, our connection to the energies around us and within ourselves. Falling is really a great teacher. It teaches us that there are parts that are not engaged, hence the unsteadiness. The greater our lack of balance, the greater our fall. When we fall it, simply means that, to find the integrity in our body, we need to cultivate presence and compassion. In short, it takes work. With much love, kindness, and faith, we get up and try, again. We do not give into the fear. Giving completely into the fear, the despair, aversion, reactivity, and so on, could become our greatest obstacle to achieving the balance and clarity we seek.
We can look at a society, when it fails or falls, like a body. What are the parts that are not engaged? What are the parts that need to be integrated? What can we change that is not working? What is the foundation, or the values, that we need to cultivate over and over? What have been our biases and judgement that has created our limitations? Then, we work with what we have. With much patience, we look into the eye of the storm and we continue, facing the truth, even in the presence of fear because we know our heart and love are much greater than that.
Recognizing our true essence helps us, eventually, come out of the hole of despair and destructive reactions we may be digging for ourselves. We face the shadows we need to face in order to find our integrity. Integrity is found when we are willing to remove layers that are not needed, until we find unity and ease, regardless of how emotionally painful this process may be.
This, I have learned, is the work of a yogi: to always search for the truth, which is the path of consciousness. Even when you accomplish the balance you seek, you realize that nothing is ever “accomplished”. Nothing is ever finished. We realize that we are in constant dance with imbalance, as I heard one teacher said. We must become fully aware of what is creating the integrity and we cultivate those values constantly.