“How are you?”
I don’t know how to answer this question these days. If the inquirer is asking because it’s a reflexive, social-norm to ask, I find myself answering without too much thought, “ I’m good. How are you?”
But if it’s a friend who is truly concerned for my well being, my answer is often, “That’s a complicated answer today. How long have you got?”
When studying the lifecycle of a crisis, we see that the ups and downs of our mental health looks a bit like a roller coaster. This is actually normal for a crisis. I find this very assuring. Taking a day to rest, stepping off the sweaty treadmill (summer in Florida is hot, y’all!) of medicinal exercise and just being with my exhausted self is healthy – and necessary if I’m going to process what is happing in my personal and the global world.
There is so much to learn – and unlearn, every single day.
I thought I understood viruses, but this pandemic has me using new terms like aerosolized, asymptomatic, community spread, contact tracing, herd immunity, incubation period, percent positive and personal protective equipment (PPE). Learning about this and investigating false claims takes time and energy.
I thought I understood discrimination, but my eyes are opening to institutional racism, redlining, complicit racism, unconscious bias, white-centered framework, racial micro-aggressions and perceptions. Reading, listening and digesting this information is taxing, but so is calling it out (without adding fuel to the burning house) when my family, friends and students act unskillfully.
I thought I knew how to teach a yoga class, but now I’m faced with an entirely different medium with online classes and I’ve spent the last few months grappling with my websites, Zoom accounts, scheduling accounts, Facebook and YouTube. My home practice space feels less like a sanctuary these days and more like a stage, complete with professional grade lighting.
Today I feel wiped out. I woke up after the sun, which meant that my walk along the river would be in stifling heat and humidity. I chose not to go. I chose to sit on my mat and meditate on stillness instead. I chose to recline and let the floor hold my upper body while my couch held my lower body and just rest. I chose, because I can. I have that privilege. I am healthy, white and able to afford these tools for online classes. I rested in my privilege so that tomorrow I can use it to help those who don’t have the choice.
So, how am I today? I’m tired. But this marathon is only beginning and I’ll be back on the path as soon as I’ve rested. I hope to see you there with me.