A Practice in Safety
Resilience and Joy
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I hesitated to use several of the words in my title—specifically ‘safety’ and ‘resilience,’ but also ‘joy.’ These words do feel somewhat overused. Yet, I found myself wondering if they’re oft-used because we need to hear the message over and again for it to take affect.
The primitive part of our brains remember the negative so easily. If we want to remember the good, we must create a physical experience of the emotional opportunity. We must practice settling in to a positive experience for 30 seconds-3 minutes if we want it to take hold. Creating opportunities for joy and celebration, for example, to take up residence in our heart then becomes a practice in safety for the nervous system. It allows us to relax our worry, our anxiety, our reactivity, and sit in an emotionally aware place.
This week, when I walked across my friend Sara’s farm for Wednesday night yoga, I paused as I rounded the path toward the space where we practice. I purposefully gazed upward to the clouds and soaring birds, outward across the field of sunflowers and milk thistle. A monarch was swooping up and down through tree branches and across the top of the fence line. Cicadas, bird song, the chatter of yoga friends were the chorus of sound. I breathed in fresh grass and evening air. I sipped the cool water Sara had given me in a Mason jar, felt the sun on my face and the grass under my feet. I purposefully made the effort toward savoring this moment and because I did it became a celebration of the moment—a moment that won’t be again but that I’ll remember because I’ve made it part of me. I planted the memory in my physical body by engaging each of my senses. It took a moment of effort and it was worth every second.