The other night, I tried to turn off my computer but the white circle in the center of my screen kept spinning for several minutes. Was it stuck, “loading”? Or, like me, had it been reading The New York Times too much and not exercising?
If you’ve been lying awake in bed at night, hostage to your own spinning, I can relate. The turbulence in our world is impossible not to feel and metabolize somehow. Maybe we are protesting, or thinking about protesting (which is probably more draining), or maybe we have other sources of outrage. Like the 24 hour news cycle, we are always “on.” Called to give our all as workers, family members, romantic partners, and, increasingly so, as citizens, it’s enough to cause burnout, where we slowly become more exhausted and less effective. Our mind and body become like a windmill in reverse – powered by worry, we drain ourselves of energy.
How to Rest
In meditation, we talk a lot about ‘waking up.’ Being ‘asleep’ has a negative connotation however, trudging mindlessly through life like a cow toward the dinner bell. But our best career, spiritual, or activist intentions are foiled if we can’t keep ourselves together, if we can’t nurture the part of us that thrives on quiet and space. It’s very easy to activate our sympathetic nervous system, responsible for adrenaline, speed, and responding to perceived threats. It’s much harder, however, to scale that down and contact our parasympathetic nervous system, which we experience in periods of relaxation, appreciation, and mindfulness.
The trick, of course, is to find balance and nourishment without joining a monastery. That’s what my upcoming workshop on Saturday, March 4, “How to Rest: A Workshop for Activists and Concerned New Yorkers,” is detailing. It’s a three-hour program of meditation (no experience required), tension-shedding practices from the Alexander Technique, and a nuts and bolts conversation about how to intake technology and the news.
It’s a false choice to think that you can either be conscious and engaged or respect your basic needs. In this workshop, you’ll gain valuable experience in the following:
- Learn how to settle an overactive mind in the body.
- Let go of excess stress and tension.
- Learn from and connect with other people who are struggling with the same issues.
I don’t have every answer, but I do have a room next Saturday – a sun-filled beautiful room, meditation cushions, yoga mats, and years of experience with meditation and the AT. And, hopefully, I will have you – your curiosity, questions, and good intentions. So, consider taking a few hours aside from the whirlwind to rest your mind and recharge your body.
If you register today (February 25), you’ll receive $15 off the full price!
Saturday, March 4 at The Interdependence Project
10 AM-1 PM