What is even happening with this week? A parent from Uvalde rescued her kids from the school, then was threatened by police to keep quiet about her story. The supreme court decided border patrol agents should be insulated from public accountability. There's an absurd controversy over the new Gerber Baby, Russia is selling grain it stole from Ukraine (and lying about it), and I spent Saturday morning working rainbow security at a Kids Pride event because adult protestors had threatened to disrupt it.
This week I have also witnessed more than the usual number of near-accident-causing extreme traffic maneuvers by frenzied drivers. It sure seems like a lot of folks are just losing their shit right about now. Which I understand because there's a lot going on. And there's been a lot going on for a while. Yesterday I nearly lost my own shit at a dance community discussion about moving to non-gendered role terms when someone conflated overturning Roe v Wade with losing his "right to choose" the role terms ladies and gents when he calls dances... That is some champion level missing of the point, right there.
I'm also too damn tired to take it all in at the rate it just keeps coming and coming. Earlier in the week a friend asked me how work was going. I replied with something like "I'm like a regular amount of behind on everything, but not an extra-high volume of behind on everything, so that's nice." Excuse me, what? Apparently at some point in the forming of this new normal we all find ourselves in, my baseline for overwhelm was recalibrated a couple notches higher.
I've arrived at a new understanding of how much is too much, but that doesn't feel like something I want to celebrate. It definitely doesn't feel like a healthy achievement. I'd like to do more than just survive this life. I've done full survival mode and I would like instead to enjoy the experience of life from a place of centeredness. But that grounding has been a challenge to settle into lately. Despite my best efforts to schedule in breaks and plan recovery time, one thing or another has interrupted all of those plans and prevented the slow-down, restore, relax and recover.
There are so many compounding apocalypses happening that my usual restorative practices no longer completely restore me to Full Self. The things I have been doing for years are now only getting me part of the way back to baseline. And the cracks are starting to show. Amazingly, some things sneaking through those cracks seem positive: I am no longer willing to be patient with people who are unwilling to participate in humanizing others. But other results are decidedly unhelpful: I’m tired pretty much all the time and constantly feeling behind on things.
So what do I do now that we are living in the Age of Apocalypse? Break some shit. Specifically those patterns and practices that are no longer serving. So far this year I’ve been varying levels of annoyed about not ever getting a break from the onslaught. I realized this week I am trying to apply outdated tech to a new kind of problem. I have been focused on finding that big serving of recuperation to go with the big serving of stress and effort. Consequently, I have been trying too hard to do relaxation a certain way instead of allowing it to happen in whatever way there is space for.
In my Taiji practice, I see my teacher only a few times a year because she lives two states away. But those times are vitally important for my journey. For me, the emotional aspect of this art is key to my personal growth and exploration. I can rest-in to standing on my own, and meditate on my own, and I can also work the physical alignment stuff with almost anyone who wants to. But my teacher's ability to see me so completely when I stand before her and her care in offering me an opportunity to see and feel some more of myself is something I have not experienced with any other teacher. And a gift I aspire to one day offer my students and the world.
Most of my training time I work the emotional stuff on my own and the physical stuff during class with my students. I help my students plumb their own depths, but I don’t have the breadth of skill to get myself unstuck from every new sticky point I find in myself. It always comes back to the emotional layer and sometimes I need a mirror in the form of another human being to see what I’ve been keeping from myself. So a couple times a year I show up to train with my teacher, like bringing my Self in for a tune-up. And every time I do, I make some significant discovery that moves my training forward several steps.
One of the reasons I keep training is because it's the glue that holds me together. The world being the way it is, I would absolutely fall apart if I didn't regularly spend time lovingly putting myself back together. The other reason is because I know the world needs this kind of healing - I feel it like an ache in my heart. I also know a lot of folks are not able to take-on their own journey of internal exploration for a variety of reasons. And I know many folks that could are not willing to do this work because it's difficult and sometimes painful.
But I don’t want to live in a world where I am not at least trying to make it better by living as an example of how we could do things differently. And I want to spread that healthful, humaning juice as far as my reach extends. So I've got to continue getting my regular tune-ups. And I also need to engage with my daily practice differently. I need to sprinkle little morsels of self-care throughout each day, allowing it to fill whatever space is available, instead of relying only on one big dose in the morning and evening. And I've got to stay present for the unfolding of whatever happens next, so I can continue to come back to myself even during all those impending future storms.
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.