Inner Space in the Time of C-19
It dawns on me, as I sit down to write this, that it is the first time in weeks that I have sat down to write. This is of note because I had made a daily “morning pages” writing commitment to myself in January of this year, a few months before home-stay and self isolation began due to Covid-19.
For the first few months after quarantine began, I clung to the practice as it afforded me the much needed space to excuse myself from my family, hole myself up in my office, and journal to express how I was really feeling and to create the space to listen inward and reflect. It also cleared out some of the chaotic thoughts around the myriad of tasks I now had in order to quickly convert my teaching business to an online platform.
More and more, that hour, set aside for writing and creating inner space, became a time where I planned what I needed to do – for my clients, my family and extended family.
The space for me had been squeezed out.
Time-Space and Spatial-Space in the Time of C-19
I have some very dear friends and family who live alone and some for whom work has stopped completely. They have more time-space than they could ever want, and they find themselves bored, frustrated and grieving the possibility that their beloved work and industries may not survive. They have moments of deep loneliness as their limited spatial-space is devoid of friends and family. The physical space between them and their loved ones is vast.
I also know others, like myself, who have never been busier as their home sanctuaries are now their places of work, the place of schooling for their children, and a place in constant need of cleaning and tidying because everyone in the family is home all of the time. No time-space and no spatial-space.
Life had begun to feel like a never-ending boot-camp.
Space in the time of Boot-Camp
As I write “boot-camp” I am reminded of the greatest lesson I learned while yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram. Classical yoga and meditation are indeed practices of inner spaciousness, but the format of the training was seriously intensive. Getting up each day at 5am for walking meditation, every minute of the day scheduled with lectures, classes, practice, our two meals, a 10 minute shower and the Karma yoga job commitment, it became clear that there was no time or space to stop and process the many wonderful teachings and experiences we were having. I remember thinking, “This is Yoga Boot- Camp!”. At the start of our time there, many of us were overwhelmed and some went home.
Staying present was the only way through.
Although I did have my own tent on the side of the mountain (I did not want to share a dorm after being with people all day long), I was only there in the dark and to sleep. A more profound help was being in nature. Although we were all in close community with little to no privacy, there was the vastness of the natural world around us. It was as if the mountains, the forest and the sky whispered the reminder, “We are all part of this Earth. Walls cannot bind us. Time cannot limit us. We are partially contained in our bodies, but micro to macro, our inner space is as the infinite space we are part of…beyond the earth’s atmosphere…infinite and expansive…BREATHE.”
There was no time to stop or space to process each moment that passed, so I opened my heart and lungs and let myself fully experience each moment as I passed through it. This was the greatest lesson I learned. Presence.
So, though I feel that same morning to night boot-camp experience here in home-isolation, I remember that the only space and time I truly have is within. When I slow inner time down, each breath slower than the one before it, I enter the time-space continuum. From galaxies to atoms we are always both connected and infinitely spacious.
And right now, I am here, present, connected, writing to you, and wishing you peace, health and the remembering of your inner space.
-- Written by Tanya Porter
Tanya Porter is the founder and Living Arts Director of The Inner Space, teaching meditation and classical yoga to both adults and youth for over 20 years. She is also the creator of the mindfulness drumming modality Rhythmic Re-framing, bridging her 30 years of drumming experience together with her yoga and meditation practices. She is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, educator, holistic energy practitioner and yoga instructor. Her workshops and teambuilding programs are popular in private, corporate and educational settings. She also offers customized one-on-one sessions in yoga, meditation, drumming and other healing disciplines.
I love the idea that the only way to get through is to ‘live’ every moment as we pass through it. Thank you.