How one yogi is getting her act together.
Even though I believe in always having a mission statement, like many of us, I am adrift. The pandemic is such a crazy time.
A Japanese proverb tells us:
"Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare."
We are stuck in the living nightmare of Covid-19 and it looks like we will be sitting with our discomfort for quite a bit longer. Italians call this kind of transition the wolf in the fairy tale. People, the wolf is at the door.
One option is to do nothing. My mentor many years ago told me this: If you don’t know what to do, do nothing because the path will become obvious in time. At every critical juncture, he would decide this is the time for barbeque. He may not have been a yogi, but he was a Yoda for sure.
I learned so much from him, including the difference between tangy and sweet. The end of the story will come; we do not need to rush it, nor will our actions significantly change it. They will only change us.
Or Do Something?
But doing nothing may not always be the right course. Years ago, I graduated from college and returned home to watch soap operas for a few months. One day my mother told me to get a job. Not a career, but a job. This time feels very similar.
If we don’t know what we’re supposed to do right now, perhaps it is like my mother said: we just need to be useful. Having purpose is a reason to wake up in the morning.
If you lived on a family farm, you would know that everything has a role to play. The ducks eat snails, the chickens lay eggs, the mothers take care of their babies.
Nobody asks the pig, “Are you happy? Are you fulfilling your life’s calling? Are you changing the world with yoga?”
These concerns are strictly for the only species who has the time to sit around and worry about the meaning of life. It is a privilege to worry about purpose. But in lieu of not yet doing our dharma, we may need to do something.
How to Restart Your Engine:
No matter your choice, to do nothing or to do something, here are some ideas to stay sane.
1. Be helpful. If your career is stalled, then find something else to do on a temporary basis. You could volunteer, make sandwiches for first responders or help struggling parents by taking kids outside. Offer your services, and maybe the Universe will repay you with a sense of well-being.
2. Undo habits. If you grasp palms together and knit your fingers, then undo it and knit the fingers in the unaccustomed way, it only takes a few seconds until that feels normal too. It is the same with habits. This is the moment to begin something new. You have time to let it sink in.
3. Move. Movement is the key to a sense of well-being. Every single study tells us so. I have begun walking 4 miles a day and I’ve added free exercise classes from Instagram. So far, I am sore as hell, but honestly, I do feel a lighter vibe to the day.
4. Get rid of something. Stuff is just stuff, whether it is internalized detritus or clutter in our home. Your bag weighs less when you let something go, and so do you. Clean up your life.
5. Be creative. This could be the time to paint, try pottery, write a poem or bake a cake. Tapping into our creativity always ignites a spark of inspiration.
The wolf is making itself known, knocking at our door and disturbing our sleep. We have a chance to make friends with the creature and turn this nightmare back into a fairy tale. This is the moment. Don’t let it go to waste.
Michelle Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is an award-winning journalist living in Denver, Co., and the author of four books including “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Stronger, Better and Wiser through Yoga.”