If you know me, you know that summer is my favorite season. I feel myself during the summer more than any other time during the year. And because I feel in a good place, it’s easier for me to reflect and do some introspective work. Even though I teach as many classes during the summer as I do the rest of the year, I tend to feel easily rushed and busy when I’m full time in NYC leaving little time to deeply reflect despite my daily meditation practice.
But on Shelter island and especially near the ocean, it’s different…
Growing up in a city near the mountains I always wonder why I love the ocean and the beach so much. The environment deeply resonates with me and I believe it’s because all the elements are within reach. They feed my body and soul. I also love the infinity, the immensity of the horizon; that sense of freedom, that everything is possible. It’s my happy place!
I’ve been doing some introspective work for a while now. Having chosen to follow the path of yoga, it is only natural to want to evolve and get closer to the essence of my being. Doing handstand might be fun and I believe I’ll keep loving it but it’s not going to help me nor the world evolve.
This summer, I deepened my self-reflective work. Observing more closely, listening more deeply, feeling with all my senses, sensing with attention, asking myself tough questions, refusing to shy away from whatever is coming up. The latter might be the most challenging one for me.
How easy it is to close our eyes when a situation doesn’t feel right to us and avoid confronting ourselves to it rather than really facing it?
Fears are usually linked to our lack of making the right decisions. For instance, fear of losing something so we prefer staying in a more familiar situation rather than taking a leap. I, myself, have a lot of fears I’m working on. It is not an easy process but one I decided to undertake to keep growing and going in the direction that feels right to me. And during that process, nature is always a big help for me to get more clarity.
Nature has all the answers.
When surrounded by Nature and being able to be there for a while, I feel like my cells are in harmony with the environment. All my senses feel more attentive and acute but in a very gentle, soft way. I feel much more receptive and I’m able to listen to and to observe whatever is happening in my life at that moment. I feel much clearer, less susceptible to listen to my fears.
I was lucky to spend a few days at the Yoga center Kripalu in Massachusetts this summer. It was another beautiful invitation to keep going a bit deeper with myself in a cooler and woodsy setting.
Another tool that has been very helpful to me is putting things on paper. This sounds so obvious as perhaps spending some time in Nature is, but let me tell you, the simpler the techniques, the better it works. Introspective work is all about listening, being present and this can only be done in a quiet environment, using tools such as writing, meditating or contemplating. It’s only when we find ourselves calm and receptive that the work bears its fruits.
Writing is extremely helpful for it helps letting go of any barrier we may built. We feel free to express ourselves and sometimes we may even surprise ourselves by what is coming out. I know I did, and in a very positive way.
The Dalai Lama was recently in Strasbourg, France and I was listening to one of his talks thanks to Facebook live. Many things he said resonated with me but on the subject I’m writing on today he said one thing that especially attracted my attention. He said that when we have negative emotions or feelings in our mind, it’s usually because we look at the problem from a very narrow angle and we forget to look at the bigger picture. The narrower the angle, the more anxiety or negative emotions it will add to the problem. This stuck with me for it’s true that sometimes we get too focused on a specific issue and we may forget that everything else is actually pretty good. This was a great reminder.
May we keep doing our introspective work but may we not lose sight of the bigger picture.