In the language of the body the idea of staying with oneself is a common phrase. If you are not a body person or one who consciously works with becoming present this may seem like a strange idea. Of course we are with ourselves, right? Who else could we be with duh……., and, if you ever pause for a few moments to sense what is going on beneath the surface of your skin you may have a challenging time noticing anything. You may be aware of what you are thinking about but chances are good that noticing what you are feeling in terms of sensation may allude your awareness. If this is true you are in good company. Lots of people are not drawn towards kinesthetic awareness and/or interested in sensing what is going on below their heads. Heads, our thinking self, dominate in our culture. We are praised for being smart and thinking well. Usually we are not praised for good somatic awareness, that is unless you possess excellent physical skills like playing a sport, etc.
Years ago while I was walking to a class I noticed that in my mind I was already where I was going. I wasn’t noticing anything along the way, like how beautiful it was outside or how I was sensing myself. I was planning and scheming about what I was going to do and say and what may be happening in the room where I was headed. I was already there in my head even though the rest of my body was still en route. My awareness of myself wasn’t on the path, it was in front of me. That’s the moment I truly sensed and became aware of what it felt like to ‘leave myself behind.’ Part of me was somewhere another part of me wasn’t.
The pandemic forced almost all of us to stay away from others and remain at home. Most of us were stuck inside in ways we had never been and the choice to go where we wanted was gone. We were with ourselves and those we lived with for better or worse for over a year. For many, that was especially difficult if the people you lived with were not kind and supportive. I have also heard many stories of people getting much closer because they were forced to ‘stay’ with each other.
Now that the world is opening up I am more comfortable in my own skin and ‘being with’ more moments in my days. I feel here, right where I am, more than I ever have in my life. It is a feeling of being grounded and centered. I am ahead of myself anticipating what the next moment or event will be like much less than a year ago. It’s almost as if I were given a gift, permission to slow down and accept the present moment for what it is in it’s fullness rather than hurrying off to somewhere else.
I wonder if you are noticing yourself differently in your own space, skin or life than you experienced yourself before the pandemic. Are you ‘staying with yourself’ in ways you didn’t 15 months ago? Are you indulging in more moments of your life than you did before? Or are you ready to ‘get back to normal and want tp put all this behind you and move on? How has the pandemic changed you?
I would love to hear your thoughts as this question feels important to navigate the future. So much of last year has been defined in terms of loss. I want to be aware of what was gained through the extraordinary circumstances we encountered and use that to create something new for myself and others.