Sometimes as I flip calendar pages to a new month, I think about how arbitrary the container of a month is. Mostly I enjoy that momentary thought, recognizing that it’s yet another indication of the loosening of time that fascinates me so much. But I also recognize how much I like paying attention to cycles, even if they’re artificial and arbitrary like our calendar months are. I’m all about paying attention to containers – what they feel like, what they hold, how we can stand at the edges of them or cocoon in their centers.
This month I woke up knowing one of the ways I’ll be playing in October’s container is by paying attention to my four bodies – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Of course those themselves are arbitrary, albeit rather widely used divisions of how we experience ourelves, but I find they are useful.
We had a significant change in our weather this week – it’s turned quite chilly, the leaves have started changing colors and the garden is going dormant. It’s time to acknowledge the seasonal change, but I’m aware it’s layered differently this year as the pandemic continues to shift and alter the way we do things collectively, and even more importantly, personally. Nothing is the same, even if we appear to be adapting, and I think it’s wise to be open to that knowing.
I want to spend this month mindfully, recognizing that the turning into the dark months of autumn and winter, are always my personal Persephone journey into an underground where I am both most comfortably sovereign and simultaneously most in need of exquisite self-care. It’s always a balancing act, always an nuanced experiment, always something that’s lived out in experience and not simply held somewhere in the realm of thought.
Because my creative mojo has come back with a surge in these past weeks – for which I am entirely grateful! – I also understand that one of the xhallenges I navigate is overwhelm as more and more projects entice me with their siren calls. Hence my intention to dedicate myself with unwavering devotion to mindfulness this month. Setting the precedent so to speak.
One of the hopefully fun ways of doing this is participating in three Instagram “challenges” – two prompted ones and one an entirely self-directed mindfulness exercise. It amuses me how much I’ve taken to IG – literally years after most of the rest of the world. And it amuses me to acknowledge my initial and lengthy resistance to it. There have been a number of professional photographers in my life over the years and my simple point-and-shoot-and-hope-for-the-best technique spiraled into a ridiculous limiting self-judgment that I’m glad to have set aside. But in any case, IG suits me perfectly because it’s easy, quick, and while I appreciate it for the doses of inspiration and connect it provides, I don’t find it a huge time suck. It’s a nice I can dip into regularly and it’s served in helping me be more aware of what I’m seeing during my day. I can only call that a win.
So with these gentle daily mindfulness invitations for the month, I’m looking forward to paying attention to what’s up for me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – those beautiful nested bodies I like to think of as the Matryoska dolls of this embodiment. And with careful and consistent attention, I’m hoping to find the practices that keep me optimally creative without overwhelm and help me hone my exquisite self-care practices to maximum efficacy.
I want to be clear, I’m not thinking of this as some serious chore or undertaking that is profoundly important and utterly consuming. Rather quite the opposite. Being curious and noticing are two characteristics I’m most grateful for. And I want to devote those skills in pursuit of something Hafiz said:
Every Child Has known God, Not the God of names, Not the God of Don’ts Not the God who ever does anything weird But the God who only knows four words And keeps repeating them, saying: ‘Come dance with Me’ Come Dance.
Isn’t that a wonderful invitation? Don’t you want to live that way? What is it you’re planning for your October? Is anything especially calling to you, or you’re curious about? Do you like the 4-body model of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual? Do you pay attention to one more than others? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
I do love that quote…I may have to borrow it. October is usually the beginning–just the beginning–of a return to lovely weather here in Arizona. After a long, extremely hot, quarantined summer, I look forward to at least being able to go outside again…walk in some parks, plant some flowers, photograph birds. It won’t be quite the same, as we know, because of the pandemic but it will open up way more possibilities than I’ve had for months. I’m eager and excited!
I’m excited for you as well Candace. May there be many fun adventures in your future, and I’ll look forward to seeing more of your fabulous photos.
I have been enjoying your offerings on Instagram, Deborah. Always something very interesting there. For my October project I am going to use my One Second Everyday app and capture the Halloween/fall decorations that are starting to pop up in the neighborhood. I’ve been swamped with work but it is slowing down a bit again so maybe I’ll have time to blog more and work in the studio. I’ve been missing that!
IG is fun and visually appealing isn’t it? The app sounds like great reminder. I hope you find time to play in your studio – I know how much it calls to you.
I like instagram because it’s very visual, and not full of political memes and shares. I feel that all four of my bodies are melded most of the time; when one or more of them is out of synch I can definitely feel it though. Each one of those sides needs to be in balance with the others, even if at times one of them predominates. For example, when we had the smoky air, my physical side was low energy which caused some depression. Other times I’m extremely stressed so my mental/emotional sides are out of balance. I’m working on strategies to deal with this one step at a time.
I think it’s a lifetime of moment-to-moment mindfulness practice that helps maintain a dynamic balance, as truly we’re always in flux and flow. It’s really helpful though to have a sense of when you’re feeling out of balance so you can course correct sooner rather than later and it sounds like you’ve got a good handle on that Margaret. Yay you!
I have a difficult time with IG. I forget it exists for days on end. I wish you well with your challenges and will check in with you there, when I remember to. I like the idea of dancing with God. Kind of dovetails into the saying about how we’re all just walking each other home.
Ooh I like your connection between the thoughts of Ram Dass and Hafiz – and I think you’re absolutely right. I suspect they would have been friends too.
Hi Deborah – I really don’t do SM … I have an instagram account but don’t use it … however I love your invitation and just to keep the peace, be happy and yes dance … it’s great you’re feeling back with the social media world – giving us gentle reminders to be thoughtful for others. Thank you and take care – Hilary
If I had only one suggestion for everyone, it would always be follow your heart. We know exactly what supports us, what feels right-fit, and what brings joy. We only have to devote ourselves to honoring that knowing. Take care as well Hilary.