During meditation at my altar this week, after bowing to the ancestors, lighting my devotional candle, and offering incense, I settled into center, allowing the tensions around me to relax. I opened.
In this opening, I was reminded of something that I know deep in my being, yet still sometimes forget:
There is a spaciousness of billions of years around my life. There is a spaciousness of billions of years around every life on earth. We can take a longer breath, for the whole cosmos is breathing.
It is easy to get caught up in our tensions. It is easy to only be engaged in the struggle: to feed ourselves and our families, to pay our rent or mortgage, to fight against the violations of water, sky, and soil, to stand against greed, to fight against fracking or for clean drinking water, to say that the lives of those killed in the streets have value, and that their families are not alone in their grief.
These struggles are important. They are vital. They are also not the only things to pay attention to.
We need to make offerings to our struggles.
We need to give them more space, and a reminder that they have a place that they belong.
When my clients are in a big life transition, when fear, anger, uncertainty or grief has them in a tightening grip, I often remind them to re-center, and then to allow themselves to grow bigger, to expand.
So simple. Take a breath. Upon the exhalation, allow attention to descend into the center of gravity coiled within the belly. Then breathe into that center, allowing the exhaled breath to gently expand the sense of spaciousness around the whole body, giving the difficult emotions more space in which to be.
We all need more space in which to be. We don’t get that by consuming more land, or goods, or money. We don’t get that by filling up our time.
We get more space by slowing down inside, exhaling outward, relaxing our edges enough that we can stretch. Settle. Breathe some more.
Carrying high tension doesn’t help us get more done, it only increases our sense of panic or discomfort.
Carrying high tension causes us to forget this truth: we are connected to the larger flow of time. Our current problem – important as it is to face – isn’t forever.
When I start to constrict around the emergency of extrajudicial killings of my Black and brown brothers, sisters and siblings, I can return to the centering altar and remember:
I’m part of a 20 billion year arc of Being. We all are.
I still need to show up to the daily struggle, but if I do so in this larger context, my body, mind, and spirit feel looser, more relaxed, and therefore better able to engage for longer periods of time. Forgetting the longer arc can wear us out.
Remembering that we are engaged in a flow of life and death and change so vast our minds cannot contain it serves as a reminder: We don’t have to know it all, because we can’t. All we can do is try our best right now. We can let the rest go. We have to.
Take a breath with me. Drop into your center. Breathe again. Exhale. Relax your edges. Let your breath push your edges outward. Give yourself more space.
Your life will thank you. Your tasks will, too.
Grief, anger, sorrow, or frustration can still fuel your struggle, but you can struggle equipped with a bit more power and ease. That will help us all.
Your life – and whatever you struggle with – is part of a larger whole. Open out. Take up more space. You are surrounded by the great unfolding of space and time.
I think that’s pretty grand.
Some of my spiritual direction clients have graduated. They’ve gotten what they needed, integrating the work we’ve done into their lives. This happy fact means that I have some spaces available for new clients if you wish some help navigating some spiritual questions or changes.
Please contact Ankhira for more information and to set up a free 30 minute consultation to see if this work is right for you.