When life throws you something you really weren’t expecting, something that rocks you to your core, what do you turn to? Not who – order azithromycin what?
What are the simple acts you find comfort in, to return to yourself when everything around you feels unstable? Yoga? Art? Gardening? Food? Wine? Reading? Journalling? Nature? Sleep? Darkness? More sunlight? Gratitude?
I started doing yoga a while ago, partly for the exercise but also to engage my mind while I was doing the exercise. My teenage years were spent dancing five nights a week and when I finished, I really missed using the part of my brain that had to remember all the choreography.
I moved overseas for a while, to stretch myself, purposely pull the rug out from underneath my own feet, forcing me to learn new things. To grow into an actual adult. But at 20, I was barely me yet. I was petrified and exhilarated all at once. While a lot of my friends were hosting their 21st birthday parties in their backyards or the local hall, I spent mine with a dear friend in Cesky Krumlov, a small, picture perfect story book town in the Czech Republic. We went horse riding and shared the most magnificent meal in a restaurant that had been recommended to us. Much like a cave, perhaps how you would imagine a hobbit’s hole. I remember having to duck my head in some parts so as not to bump into the roof. It was lit almost entirely by candlelight. It was like something out of a movie.
When I returned home to Australia and moved to a new city, I joined a local gym and began going every weekday morning before work. Always the group classes, where you had to learn and remember choreography to keep up. It was so satisfying to wake that part of my brain that had been hibernating for the past few years. After I had my children, exercise became a stranger outside of pushing the pram everywhere and rarely sitting down during the day with little people to run around after. You really do forget the euphoric feeling you experience following exercise.
My yoga practice ebbs and flows, but I am doing my best to come back to a daily practice. When I head straight for the mat, first thing in the morning while the rest of the house sleeps and the sun is just rising, there is something quite magical about it. The quiet of the morning, the crisp morning air, the stretching of my limbs and muscles. If I achieve nothing else with the rest of the day, I know I have fed my body and my mind. And I know it is grateful. Grateful to be woken and alive and loved. While this form of exercise is always changing and choreography isn’t really a factor, my brain is constantly at work remembering all the ways my body should be aligned and working as one. What would appear to be no work at all to an onlooker can leave the sorest of muscles the following day. The practice constantly reminding me to leave that which does not serve me on the mat. Take only the thoughts and feelings with me into the day, that will benefit me.
Yoga has become a surprising gift. Along with journalling, podcasts and a re-entry into the big wide world of reading. Pre-kids I read every day. To and from work on the train. After kids there was no time, or energy. Almost two years ago I dove back in and have reaped the rewards ever since. I have never looked for specific books to read, I have listened to the Universe and read what has made its way in front of me. Understanding and appreciating that timing can be everything when reading. A source of therapy and awakening. Learning so, so much from people who have taken the stories of their lives and packaged them up perfectly into books. To help others. Books that may have taken decades or a lifetime to write, but have given me wisdom within the space of hours and days. I find that quite remarkable.
When everything feels unsteady, when the map leading you forward seemed so clear it could never change, but is now murky and smudged, that’s when these simple acts can become so much larger. If we walk through each day with awareness of mind and body, these simple acts are probably things we actually do every day. Rise early before the kids for a quiet cuppa – morning yoga – morning dip in the ocean – your favourite music echoing through every room in your house – Taco Tuesdays – journalling – a walk on the beach – watering your plants – reading – daily gratitude – walking your dog – lighting candles in the evening – a glass of wine with dinner.. whatever these things are, these rituals that bring us peace and a quiet mind, these are the things we must lean into when everything feels shaky.
I’m intrigued to know – what are the simple acts that keep you moving?