When I’m my yoga nidra class, my teacher sometimes invites us to imagine a personal paradise. She tells us it can be any place we like: outdoors or indoors, faraway or nearby, past or present, with others or private. The goal is never to force an image, but rather to let what comes up come up.
Week after week, the place I go when I’m asked to find a paradise of my own is my apartment. I always have a little internal laugh at this moment, because my apartment is a fifteen minute walk from the studio and the place where I spend nearly all of my time. Not much of a journey, right?
I keep waiting to see whether another place presents itself to me as my fantasy place. Maybe another city I’ve visited and loved, a memory from childhood, or some exotic sunny beach somewhere. It never happens. Week after week, when asked to find my happy place, I go home.
Maybe I need to get out more. Or maybe there’s an important lesson here. No matter how much I find to be dissatisfied with, no matter how restless and anxious and frustrated I sometimes feel with how things are going, I’m actually very contented with the everyday life that I have. I’m not always conscious of that contentment, but when I allow myself to become truly and deeply relaxed—when thinking and overthinking fall away—I unearth the joy I take in my home and its ordinary rhythms.
It seems like a good moment to remember this, since I’m home even more than usual right now. In spite of the fear and worry, in spite of the grief I feel for the world, I’m being forced to spend nearly every waking moment in a place that I love deeply. I wish I were here under different circumstances, but at least I’m here. It’s such a privilege to have that sense of safety right now, when so much else is uncertain.
When all of this craziness began, I wondered how it would feel to be on my own more than usual. Would I be lonely? Would my anxiety or depression flare up? What would it be like not to visit my mom? I’ve had moments of struggle with each of those things. Occasionally I’ve wished I were here at home with people of my own.
But these two weeks have also taught me a lot about what I have to be grateful for. A place to call home. Food in the fridge. Friends who are a text or a DM away. A mother who doesn’t mind when I check in on her incessantly, just to know she’s OK. A yoga community that has stayed intact virtually through all of this.
Most of all, the fact that I’ve created a little place for myself in the world where I feel safe. I think often of those who can’t or don’t feel safe where they are right now. I think of them, and I send them love, prayers, caring thoughts.
I keep hearing about how, when all of this is over, we’ll stop taking our physical connectedness for granted. We’ll cherish being able to gather, to celebrate, to hug, to touch. I know that’s true. I also know that, when this is behind us, physical proximity isn’t the only thing I’ll have a new appreciation for. I now do, and will continue, to have a new appreciation of the life I’m already leading. It’s the place I’d most like to be, according to my deeper consciousness 🙂
Wishing you safety and peace. Here are some recipes and reads.
Such a vibrant, colorful, and refreshing veggie quinoa salad.
Vegan comfort food at its finest: Megan’s creamy mushroom wild rice soup.
I love my store-bought vegan meats, but this would be an excellent time to start making more of my own! Starting with Marly’s vegan chicken.
A beautiful and hearty grilled romaine caesar.
Finally, a gorgeous (as always) gluten free lemon tart with a vegan option by Alanna.
1. I’ve definitely been susceptible to panic shopping when I pick up supplies for me and my mom lately (I’ve been making contact-free deliveries to her when necessary). I liked Elaine Smookler’s compassionate tips for managing this.
2. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can practice gratitude for the yoga community right now. I liked the tips here, which extend to self-care, too.
3. Some calm places, via The New York Times.
4. An essay on quarantine in Florence from Emiko Davies, who’s one of my favorite Food52 contributors.
5. Finally, an uplifting and lovely video from the musicians of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Take care of yourselves, friends. It’s a great time for soup, and I’m going to be sharing one of my favorite soups from Power Plates tomorrow.
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Some of you may have seen a story, which is now making the rounds, about the response that one employee got from her CEO when she let her coworkers know that she was taking a mental health day off. Software developer Madalyn Parker sent out an email to coworkers that read, “Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100 [per cent].” Her CEO took the time to thank…