Reactions – what are they good for?
Last week I found myself consigned to the ‘red zone’ of the Northern Beaches, which brought about a visceral reaction. I could feel my body immediately tighten, my jaw grip, my heart contract and heat begin to circulate and flush my limbs and head.
It wasn’t long until the energy of contraction that had filled my body, invaded my thoughts. How dare they! Why me? What will this mean? For how long will this last?
The reality of my situation was, that while a number of reunions with family and friends had been dashed, the lockdown hadn’t really impacted my personal situation or my lifestyle that much. Having three young kids, my previous decade of being housebound felt like it was training ground for just this kind of situation.
So why the reaction? In short, I had allowed my body and my mind to be filled from the outside in. I had absorbed the emotive, narrative that had been presented on media platforms. I had absorbed the poison of comparison, absorbed the fears of those around me and allowed the contractionary energy to circulate and build to a tipping point.
However, by nominating and owning this reaction with complete honesty, I was able to bring about a settlement within.
To return to a place where life can unfold from the inside out. A place that honours the space, the moment of right now – not lamenting in the past, or projecting in
to the future. A place that honours my way of being rather than prioritising things that we do or achieve. A place that brings a sense of commitment and purpose to the way I go about my everyday activities. Writing a text or email to a friend with honesty and kindness; greeting a neighbour with genuine warmth and unhurriedness; focusing my mind on the feel of my breath, or the gentle cadence of my step as I walk outside, communicating to myself and others the level of self-care and love that I carry.
Of course, reactions can happen each and every day of our lives. But the strength of the current emotional turmoil can feel greater when we are forced to live outside our normal routines and are separated from our usual support systems. However, what my reaction has shown me is that this commonality is something that we can share and relate to with each other. And in doing so, we can feel that we are not alone and that our bodies are constantly working with us to communicate truths and bring our movements into harmony with ourselves and each other.
Carly Skeers teaches yoga to people of all ages on Sydney's Northern Beaches. She loves encouraging people to reconnect with themselves and each other.