Thank Goodness We Have Superpowers
Let's set the scene and build some literary tension. The time is 8:50 AM. Thursday class starts at 9:00. Aimee leads the Zoom mindful movement lesson with her peaceful voice from her home and I demonstrate from my home. We have done this about a hundred times. Things are a bit messy already as my typical camera set up spot has a holiday tree now and Aimee's dogs are unsettled. She thinks she may have me start things off but at the last minute her daughter enters the room and the dog takes an exit. Aimee rests easier without a restless pup at her feet. Other kids still asleep at her house. Nothing that has not happened before. We adapt. All is well. For now.
Our beloved students enter the Zoom class from their favorite spots at home, we say our good mornings anticipating the peace and focused movement to come, and class begins. All participants and myself are muted and you can only hear Aimee and her surrounds.
The beginning of class is sublime. We always start gently by grounding in a relaxed position on stomach or back, and turning inward to our breath which bolsters the mindful movement to come, guided by our guru.
My house is noisy, not untypical, but this AM it sounds like the trading floor of the stock exchange. No carpet in the whole house due to allergies means we can hear everyone all the time, with echo. All three other house members are up and schooling or working. Earphones on, all are loud-talking as they cannot hear themselves and, please no offense gentlemen, because men can be loud talkers, especially in my family. (I love them dearly!)
Boom, boom, boom child #2, the tallest by far, stomps down the uncarpeted stairs, turns the corner as I am demonstrating to the class, "Mom...! " I hold up the mom finger (pointer finger just to clarify:) and shake my head. If I answer him I cannot hear Aimee's next direction. The cacophony from the other three corners of the house continues. Meanwhile, at Aimee's house, the dog groomer has showed up. She continues class while texting those of her kids who are now awake instructions on what to do and how to pay. We participants did not even notice, back to class.
Boom, boom, boom child #2 at my house, "when are you done Mom I am in class and need fries." So much to correct with that statement but we will stay on theme and just recognize the continued environmental disturbance.
Child #1, a bit quieter down the stairs, "Mom, I...." I am in a stretching pose, hold up the mom finger again and shake my head. Can't even see him as I am upside down.
At Aimee's, she lets the class know that she needs to find a charger so she does not lose us because one of her kids (she loves them dearly!) has taken hers.
The class has moved into the final phase. We are stretched, mindful, focused, strengthened and ready to relax in shavasana, comfortable on our backs and listening to Aimee's soothing voice guide our breathing with systemic relaxation. Three minutes in Aimee's two dogs have a reunion downstairs and we hear some loud and happy barking at her home. Here at my hacienda, aka the trading floor, the school and work decibel has risen to fever pitch as I lay still on my mat and motion to Aimee with a thumbs up gesture to increase her speaking volume so I can hear better via my Zoom device. So...glad...I...am...muted.
But guess what? I LOVED THIS CLASS. I texted one of the participants immediately and they were all good, enjoyed the session. Felt real good. Aimee and I managed to (mostly) keep the peace from their end. Why did I cherish this class?
Why does superwoman love to fly? Crazy comparison but here is the backstory. The powers that WE ALL HAVE to go to a peaceful, mindful place of breathing inside, despite the storms outside, are phenomenal. Through almost the entire class, Aimee and I both had to pull out tools that we teach to, again and again, return to focus and calm. Whenever I shifted towards distraction from my home, I brought myself right back with the breath. I had to bring myself back maybe 35 times during the class. Certainly other class members may have had home distraction arise also. Researchers that study relaxation response, mindfulness and meditation now know that every time we have to bring ourselves back to the breath as an entryway to a calmer, more present inner being, we strengthen the attention muscle - "a bicep curl for focus and technique."
How do I know that I still gained benefits despite the chaotic surrounds? After class, when I greeted each family member and assessed needs and states, I was calm, kind, correcting as needed but without flipping my lid. And yes, I have flipped my lid. I am human but with superpowers, just like you.
I literally sailed through the class on the wind of my own breath and its ability to get me into a relaxed place despite the tornado that raged around me, which was, in fact, just life in session. The metaphor is glaring. The physiological ability we have to find inner peace in the face of constant change and adversity in our outer world is invaluable, miraculous even. Indeed, relaxation breathing, mindfulness and meditation take practice and then more practice, but the continuous learning process is healing and inspiring to say the least.
So learn, practice, lift your sails, ride the waves and pass through storms. You are powerful.
Dan Harris, bestselling author of 10% Happier calls meditation a "badass endeavor." I agree Dan! I was the badass superhero of my own inner peace today.