Inspiring health and happiness in body, mind and spirit

Calm Amid the Chaos

March 14, 2020
Dear Friends -

As I write this, it is early Saturday morning. The house is quiet and I have been sitting in a chair by the window, sipping jasmine tea, watching the day wake. The sun has been showering the sky with roses and pinks and yellows. The first birds of spring are sending out their songs. I see daffodils sprouting in the grove. A lone walker has just passed down the road.

Every so often, I remember the greater world and all the panic and uncertainty that surrounds us. I feel fear rising up my spine, as I remember that we have a long and bumpy road ahead. My whole body cringes as I consider the challenges and inevitable losses that are heading our way.

And then the birdsong recaptures my attention, and I exhale. The sun's colors shift, my stomach settles, and my mind is brought back to the here and now. In this space, once again, I can relax and steady my whole being. I can ponder a little more clearly how we can make our way through these next few months with strength and kindness, and perhaps even with grace.

I am not a medical professional, but I am already sending out cheers of thankfulness and support for those who are on the front lines, working to keep us all as safe and healthy as possible. I am not a government official, but I am thankful for each sane and balanced leader out there who sees clearly the truth of what is and who is making difficult decisions on behalf of us all. I am not a community activist, but already I am thankful for those who are making arrangements to take care of every single one of us in the coming weeks and months.

And what can I bring to the collective cause? It seems I have dedicated much of my life to studying ways to stay calm amid the chaos. I have spent a lot of time exploring how sages throughout history have cultivated light amid the darkness. And although I don't practice peace every single moment of the day (go ahead, ask my kids!), I have gathered a storehouse of resources that teach us how to live in wisdom, love and light. Here we are, in desperately uncertain times, and I am reaching out because I hope that we can ride this out together.

Here's my plan: First, for my local movement and meditation students: Classes as we know them are currently suspended. I have a feeling it will be a while until we are back in our usual spaces. We should all keep practicing at home, for sure. And we should all stay in touch. And, as spring nears, I believe we can find a way to practice together outside! The Mansfield Art Center has generously offered us their parking lot. Once the weather warms a bit, I would love to meet there, perhaps stroll down the road together (at a respectful distance, of course) and then head back to the Art Center to practice a little upright movement outside, maybe for about 45 minutes or so. There will be no yoga mats, no money, no sign in sheets, and, sadly, no hugging. If you would like to join me - or if you have another suggestion about what might work better - please let me know. We have built a strong community, and we need that community now more than ever!

In addition, I would like to find ways to stay in touch virtually. I have an idea that a few times a week I might send out a virtual "care package" that reminds us to cultivate calm amid the chaos. Perhaps I'll share a few thoughts about how we can manage gracefully. I'd love to share updates from all of you about what you are up to and how you are faring. I'm sure I won't be able to resist offering a few mind-body practices to try. And I will likely be eager to share online resources that we can practice at home. Think of it as our usual movement and meditation classes, only, well... virtually and in writing!

I'm not exactly sure what this will look like, but I will write my way into it. If you would like to receive my letters, just let me know. I will also post my offerings to this website, so you will be able to find them here. (You can receive email updates by subscribing to the site here.) If you know of anyone who might appreciate a reminder to stay clear-eyed and calm, please feel free to share this with them.

I miss you all already! Maintaining a little distance is the right thing to do right now, on behalf of not just ourselves, but others, too. But let's not let that distance loosen the bonds we already share. Let's use our creativity and care to strengthen those bonds and to manage this bumpy road together, as family, until we find our way to the other side!

Sending love to you all,
Claudia