This week was a turning point for me. Maybe for you, too. After learning that we were going to be sheltering in place for at least another month, I had to take a deep breath and a nice long walk. I had to soak in the idea that BYSJ will most likely be a part of Phase Three in re-opening, out of the four phases outlined by California Governor, Gavin Newsom. He states “Phase 3 could be months away” – really?!  

Nonetheless, let’s keep doing our part. We will arrange new protocols at the studio when we do open, and we will do so gladly – giving YOU all the assurance so that you (and I) can safely return to a studio practice. Please stay current with our emails (you can sign up on the website here) and social media platforms. As we know more, we will use those to communicate.

For now: here I am, here you are. We have our adapted life going and it’s all okay, truly okay and yet, I’m longing for more. This time is gloriously heavy with podcasts and reading. I read a statement regarding the ‘spirit’ and how that gives life, making things that are dull, dance. Because it’s my birthday month, this statement rang true for me. I have created a routine for myself, and this last week, I have enhanced it even a bit more. I am making each morning a gift in solitude, more of a gift ‘in spirit.’ 

Cat on mat

Our routines have adapted

I don’t know if any of us are ever ready for situations like this to arise. I have come to realize that it doesn’t work that way, anyway. We are never really “ready.” The challenge instead is to ask, in any situation: can we participate in the present moment right now? This virus, and all the circumstances surrounding it, are calling us to adapt to the present. I am grateful to have walked through a little more fear this last week, realizing that we are in this sequestered time longer. I have come out on this side, the side I’m in right NOW, presently steeped in a new place IN me. That can’t be planned. It requires being in the moment and having the courage to stay there.

I want to share two particular podcast recommendations that are worth your time, whenever you might get that chance to listen. I realize that many of you aren’t like me, with more time alone. You have families, continuing work responsibilities, and now navigating school for your kids. I do hope you get the breaks you deserve and create ‘me’ moments, even if just for a few minutes. Listen when you have the time.

“Finding Ease in Aloneness” with Krista Tippett and Stephen Batchelor

This first is an interview from the podcast On Being with Krista Tippett showcasing Stephen Batchelor, a former monk and Buddhist writer. Although the title is “Finding Ease in Aloneness,” this podcast is way more than the title suggests. The interview was done on the brink of COVID-19, and oh how relevant it ALL is! He says:

“Ethics starts within each of us. The moment you have a thought and decide to engage in the thought or not is ethics.”  – Stephen Batchelor

This comment alone is worth unwrapping.Here we are in a worldwide situation, having to make decisions together: decisions with other countries, decisions within our own country, decisions inside our counties and communities, decisions with our friends and families, and decisions with our work and how we navigate our day-to-day living. All of it sifts through the filter of your principles. Or, as Stephen Batchelor is saying, the choice is modeling your moral behavior, the code you stand for.

“A Pandemic of Possibility” with Rich Roll & Zach Bush

This interview with Zach Bush, MD, shows his extreme knowledge in who we are as nature is unparalleled. He so eloquently breaks down how our call to change is NOW, otherwise as species we’ll destroy ourselves. The way out isn’t led externally with more regulations and laws, it has to start from within each of us. Zach isn’t just talking about food, and how we treat our bodies – he’s talking about all the choices that we each make every day. 

From his point of view, we’ve lost touch with the soulful satisfaction of baking our own bread free of preservatives and nourishing to our bodies, the fascination and connection to learning about nature that we get from gardening with our kids, and acts of grace we can feel and supply to someone ready to pass from this life. Zach’s cool and serene swag in his delivery is not bitter and only an illustration that this shift in our perspective and how we live isn’t a far reach. Build awareness and responsibility for the choices that you are making.  As he points out, it has always been the micro that effects the macro – YES!

My week shifted out of surface layers of awareness living with COVID-19, to deeper layers that disregard how I got here. I have more space to drill down in my being, contemplating the choices I make. I am grateful. For sure our true nature is to grow – we are progressive beings, whether or not we take ownership of that. Nature in its messy and beautifully creative orchestration pushes us to be like her: whimsical, rooted, connected, unkempt, resilient and ethical. Abide in a Higher Code.

I bring these podcasts to your attention, but – if you are like me – you may get overwhelmed by these profound ideas. Yes, this is all great but where do I start, how do I start? What does this mean for me in my life? Are these ideas too big, not meant for me? Or do I already think this way? These are some of the thoughts that swirl in my head as I open up to these deep concepts. 

three women in yoga room

Michele in Half Moon pose

Yet, I go back to our yoga. I truly don’t know anything else other than this practice that gives YOU and ME the ability to mentally exercise new ideas by doing simple physical movements. Our simple postures, by simply breathing, and by simply being still. 

Your ability to change from within isn’t something you just declare. Yes, that’s good but punctuate that with stretching, postures, that wake up a hard-wired nervous system and worn-out neural pathways and then you’ll easily shift into these higher areas that your soul, that your nature wants you to take on.  

Stephen Batchelor reminded me that I can lay in savasana, become aware of my thoughts, and choose to or choose not to. Right there, I have exercised my ethical behavior. Zach Bush, with all his expertise and experience, tells me that what I do IN me ensures our collective shift in consciousness more than anything that can be done outside of me. My yoga counts as it greatly benefits my inner well-being.

I miss you all immensely and couldn’t be more proud to have this time to learn more and recognize even more the power of a practice. It counts.