I took last week off from teaching. It wasn’t because I was going away, or throwing a big 4th of July party, or having children and grandchildren visit. I just realized I needed some unplanned time in which to see what would come up.
Mostly what came up were things I needed to attend to at home and time to do some things I enjoy. I needed space not only to have the time to do these things, but also time in which to realize what I needed.
If you have attended my classes or regularly read my blogs, you have heard me talk about the concept of space. When we sit on a beach at the Outer Banks and look out over the ocean to the horizon or stand on a plain in Kansas and look West under a great dome of blue, we can feel a sense of spaciousness. There is room to move and breathe.
The opposite of spaciousness is restriction. When we find our physical space crowded, our body held tensely, our breath shallow, our mind filled anxiously with one “to-do” after another, we lack space. And, when space is restricted in our bodies and mind, then prana, our life force energy, cannot move. We are out-of-balance.
“My room” is the physical space in my home where I practice yoga, meditation, chant, study, and escape to at times. It is also the room where I write my blogs to you. This space had grown full of papers, books, files. The ashes of two beloved kitties who had passed away sat on my desk with articles and precious knickknacks and photos, my laptop and printer. Both my physical and mental space felt constricted. I felt anxious just walking into this room. I couldn’t work. So during my week off, I practiced putting away, cleaning, and letting go. I needed to create physical space so my mind and body could find a sense of comfort again.
Finding balance, however, required more than letting go; it also required adding in some things that bring enjoyment. Jim and I went walking and biking on days so brilliant that it was hard not to be moved to joy. One evening we put our kayaks in the Conodoguinet at dusk for their maiden voyages.
Almost every morning I ate breakfast on the back porch with Jim and the cats, just observing the crepe myrtle and rose of Sharon starting to bloom bright pink. As I listened to cardinals, Carolina wrens, catbirds, and finches singing ardently and mourning doves dolefully, I watched the sunlight fall gently on the flowers and greenery.
From the teachings have received and my own experience, I can tell you that creating an ambiance of spaciousness in your surroundings helps restore balance; giving your body and mind space and time helps restore balance. Your life may be such that you are not able to take time such as I have been able to do. But even a small space of time given to yourself regularly can act as a “counterpose” to restrictions and tension. This space can help you to see more clearly your needs, your choices, what supports you and what doesn’t, what to let go of, what to keep, and what to add. Most importantly, in this space, you can choose to just rest in what brings you joy.