16 Nov Context on Joy & Sorrow
You might have noticed my general malaise from last week’s post, given the change from the typical novella of a newsletter I write to a more dramatic note of sorrow and joy coupled with some uncharacteristic poetry.
You’re welcome for not sending you the “poem” I had written in trying to express myself last week. It’s somewhere in the fourth grade homework assignment territory.
The truth is, my thoughts weren’t (and aren’t) well formed enough for expression. I’m working on it every day, sorting my thoughts and feelings into words that make sense for consumption. Trying to learn more so I do justice to these big questions I’m asking myself.
There’s no way for me to answer these questions without learning more and grappling with the personal implications of what I’m learning.
Okay, I’m talking around it. To be more direct, I’m learning about race and racism in America and unpacking my identity as a white woman.
Like I said, I’m not ready to share much more about this anti-racism work of mine, although I am interested in having one-on-one conversations about it. If that sounds like something you want, too, please reach out.
Anti-racism is important to me and has become a big part of my personal practice. It’s just quite new to me and it wouldn’t be fair to share too much too soon. I’m like the cocoon goo that happens between the caterpillar and the butterfly (do you know about that?) And this newsletter isn’t my journal. It’s about sharing things with you that are more fully formed.
Presumably you’re reading this because you’ve got a practice of your own going on, which crosses paths with the stuff I teach in some way. Today, I thought you deserved a follow-up from last week. I sort of brought it up and didn’t want to leave you hanging.
Now that that’s done…I’ll climb back into my teaching scope. I want to drop a note about practice.
If you have a practice, you already know what that word means to you. If you don’t have “a practice”, you might be wondering what I’m talking about.
One way I define it is like this:
Practice is that thing you do, sometimes willingly and sometimes begrudgingly but always intentionally, to take care of yourself, heal, and grow.
I’d say “become a better person,” but that phrase isn’t right for everyone. For some it insinuates they’re a bad person to begin with, which is wholeheartedly not what I mean.
Even if you haven’t thought of it as your “practice” you might realize with this definition there are, in fact, things you do that fit the bill.
Maybe you journal or catch up with a friend once a week. Maybe you do yoga or go for a walk around your neighborhood every day. Maybe you do your PT or prepare yourself a healthy meal. Maybe you meditate, which is a personal fave.
For me, the thing that qualifies it as a practice is the part where you do it intentionally and regularly, even when you don’t feel like it. You do it because you know it’s good for you and makes you feel better/do better/be better (there’s that iffy word again.)
It certainly doesn’t have to mean you’re doing the exact same thing every day, but when I ask about your practice I’m asking about something you keep up with and are committed to. It’s like asking someone in college about what they’re studying. I assume they’re studying something. Practice is like studying yourself. And befriending yourself, I think that’s an important part of it, too.
For me recently, given the mental confusion I roughly explained above, journaling has again become an important part of my practice. But, I try not to ignore the physical, movement stuff. I know if I just do the thinking, writing, mental part I’m going to get ungrounded. It’s a necessity I spend time in my body every single day, if only for a little bit.
This means that yes, every day I have to make myself get on the floor and at least pelvic tilt a little. Good ole arch and flatten for those of you who regularly take yoga with me. That usually leads to a few more stretches and a couple deep body breaths, and I’m good!
So right now, I write and pelvic tilt my way to understanding. Work in progress. It’s always changing.
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