“Perhaps it requires of you precisely this existential anxiety in order to begin. Precisely these days of transition are perhaps the period when everything in you is working.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Hello friend, awesome you!
It’s February already. Do you, like me, feel life moving whirlwind-fast and … tectonic plate slow?
Time warps when we are individually and collectively in big transitions, and right now, everyone breathing is immersed in some kind of un-stabilizing transition or change.
And that means we’re walking in the unknown. Big personal and evolutionary transitions turn us upside-down and inside-out. A pandemic uproots our sense of “normal.” Political upheaval does too. So does financial craziness. COVID, politics, and money have affected all of us, you and me and everyone, one way or another. The territory of the unknown is widening, whether we recognize it or not.
If that seems weird, it’s okay. I do not fully comprehend the extent of human and cosmic evolution either. But I can grasp the intensity and severity of a time asking more of us.
But we do not come into transitions empty-handed. I asked about your transition superpowers to point you to your strengths, to what’s working. Claiming your strengths, along with asking for a little help from your friends, is what will see you through these times.
My transition strengths are fierce direction, clarity and completions. These strengths are also my Achilles heel, because they can isolate me in a do it all myself mode, even when I am depleted. I am urged to ask for help. This is a new move for me. Maybe for you, too? And yet I predict that gracious receiving now and years to come will be an essential survival skill.
As for being in the unknown, that typically has not been such a hardship for me. I like adventure, certain kinds of risk, and creatively winging it. But in the past, I’ve always had a base to ground and hold me.
Not so much now. Over the past few years, my base and rooted structures have been in the process of dismantling. Currently, my husband and I have literally moved out of our family home of decades to prepare for selling. I’m at the center of these world-turning changes. It’s… a lot, even as I have capacity to work with it.
How is being in the unknown for you?
Wherever you are, however you are, it is ok. Really.
We are all sorely depleted from Covid, even if we are employed, safe, and healthy.
We all want and need deeper connection, even if we receive lover or live-in hugs.
We are experiencing Zoomaches (thank you Elijah, 6 years old).
We all feel good when we give to others. If you don’t believe me, try it.
Where do we begin, as Rilke says, to find what’s working?
After self-nourishing in your Soul Space and activating your transition superpowers, consider what gaps remain to receive support from your friends. Then, wonder how you can offer a bit of your well-developed superpower to someone who needs it.
As I do the same, come walk with me in my personal, home resize, transition.
Oceans of love my friends, stay strong, stay open,
Tiny Practice – Foot Rubs
A recent podcast from Krista Tippett asked this question:
“What’s our communal equivalent of rubbing each other’s feet?”
It’s a beautiful question in a time when many people are struggling more than they’re letting on, dipping into depression, and caring for each other is an act of survival.
I experienced my own example two days ago in a conversation with a friend. In answer to her genuine question, how are you?, I said, I am doing fine. I am safe. I have plenty of food. I can walk outside without concern. I am fortunate.
She listened deeply. She felt my energy. She let me state what I needed to say. She accepted my truth and then generously added another view. Gayle, she said, all humility aside, it’s still very hard, even when you are “doing fine.”
I took her comments in with grace. I practiced receiving and acknowledged that she and I were both expressing truth. She rubbed my feet.
So what’s the tiny practice?
Come to know, honor and appreciate your transition superpowers. Share them widely. In partnership. In community.
Recognize the places you need a foot rub. Ask for support. Open yourself to receive.
And, quite deliberately, rub your own feet with a touch to cherish and receive. The shower with soap bubbles is my favorite way.
Feb. 25, 2021
Hi, beautiful people,
Before returning to our practice, let me acknowledge the present state of our country, the severe winter and varying responses to storms creating in some situations increased pain, suffering and upheaval. These potent challenging and very scary experiences test our resilience and ability to respond. It is these experiences, these new unknowns, these rare occurrences, that motivate me to offer practices and encourage you to try them. Our dedication and development serve us, on our journey – especially in transitions – enabling us to respond better and to serve others.
In this video, taped well before the snow was falling in Massachusetts, I take you on a walk in our backyard and share one of my current transition experiences. Resizing from a family home of many decades is a common transition experience. My invitation to walk with me is a deeper opening for you to explore your own transition experiences – what are they? What are you going through right now? And what are your strengths as you move through your transitions? Where are you asked to grow? My strengths are clarity, direction and completion. I’m asked to grow by surrendering to support and asking for help.
In every transition, intentional (I choose to move) or unexpected (heat is gone and the winter storms are causing havoc), we experience a unique loss, as well as, a veil of gratitude. Both exist. Both ask to be seen and felt.
I am grieving the change of seasons when we were younger – a family growing, learning, and living in this nurturing home. I am grateful for the many blessings we experienced together in this home. Feeling my grief and gratitude, I am whole, in the midst of change and aware this home is ready to nurture another family.
Settle in your soma, be physically, mentally and energetically in your body.
Follow your breath inside your body.
Notice thoughts. Feel sensations, tension, movement. Is an emotion present?
Let stillness and space hold all of these.
Imagine and remember the feeling of being in your Soul Space.
Let this feeling come alive now.
What is your current transition – big or small?
Name this transition as the focus of your practice.
- What about this transition is a loss? What do you grieve?
- Where does grief live in your body? What sensations do you notice?
- Feel all grief arising.
- What about this transition is a gift? What are you grateful for?
- Where does gratitude live in your body? What sensations do you notice?
- Feel all gratitude arising.
- What are your strengths you bring to this transition?
- Breathe into your strengths with appreciation.
- Where are you asked to grow in this transition?
- If nothing comes to mind, do not effort, open to receive.
- Be in gratitude – claiming all that is so – gifts, challenges, choices and surprises.
- Complete your practice with a “foot rub” – literally or metaphorically – for yourself or for another. (“Foot rub” podcast with Krista Tippett and Parker Palmer)
Journaling or Reflection
Post-practice, either writing or reflection, consider the following prompts to receive more, and gain insights.
- What current transitions are you exploring?
- What are you discovering and how are your transition superpowers supporting you? How are you celebrating these strengths?
- What are you discovering about opportunities to grow and how are you choosing to grow?
- Wonder deeper about other transitions you face and how to skillfully move through them with your strengths and emerging muscles from new practices. Try it for a writing prompt.