One day when I sat on a levee. It had always been there, but I lived on the inanimate side of this levee. I passed by millions of times.
One beautiful day I parked across the street and walked up the hill. The levee was everything and nothing like I expected. There was so much life, but so much silence.
The grass was so green and so bright. The water moved constantly, sparkling at every breeze. The sun was warm yet slowly burning and descending. People nestled in the shadow of a giving tree. Breath was in every blade of grass and every leaf on the tree. What if this would not exist one day? What if instead of a levee there would be a concrete dam?
Then I looked behind me and saw death. To me, it was death because I had never known any other life there. Shallowness painted the urban setting. The roads, the buildings, the cars were nothing. The sight made my heart ache.
I didn’t want the buildings full of people who may not be fully alive. I didn’t want the cars with people who may not be consciously living their lives. I didn’t even want the bench I was sitting on or myself who seemed like one of those people who were not fully alive. Why must I live in a lifeless life? Why can’t I live in this moment of life all the time?
Then I thought of the astronaut and the ticking mentioned in one of my favorite songs. He was in space and heard a ticking. He couldn’t do anything about this ticking because he was in space. He realized the only way for him to survive was to love the ticking.
The only way for me to survive the lifeless life is to love it. The only way to survive myself, the self that I remain with every day is to fall in love with it. Can I see this light and life in myself? Is it there?
It must be because I am here. The grass touched my skin though the greenery was a yard away. The water cooled me though the river was a mile away. The sun gave me heat though it was a lifetime away. I was surrounded by the sky though it was atmospheres away.
I saw my yoga everywhere, holding my life together. I saw my God everywhere, molding my life in his hands. I just had to sit and be. Sitting and being is practicing yoga and experiencing God. Why didn’t I let myself think more and sit with myself more?
The time really was not that bad. I was not as lonely as I thought I would be because I was there with the grass and the water and the sun and the sky and the lifeless bench as my friends. The silence was the life, but the vibrations of the voices behind me were life too even if I did not want them to be. Are there levees like this other than here? Are there oases elsewhere?
My idea of the lifeless life could tell I felt different than before because it told me I had a beautiful smile. The solution to sadness is not happiness. It’s love. The solution to replacing the feeling of sadness is an act of love.
In this current quarantined life, we can love ourselves in the sadness that may take shape in loneliness. We finally have the time to give ourselves the self-care we need. We can read for pleasure again! We can get enough sleep again. We can spend quality time with family again. We can get those little tasks done. We can drink less coffee and more water. We can start a daily yoga practice. We can meditate with more than enough time. We can learn to listen to the heart and the body in the silence.
But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to hear of the national shutdown.
I worry about my family and the milestone events that are postponed. I worry about an increased societal addiction to our screens due to the inability to get out of the house and into the public during the day. I worry about the uncertainty of not only the far future but the near future.
In this quarantined life, I can still love myself in the sadness that takes shape in worry. My mind can be still just like that day on the levee. I have my yoga and I have my God. With those two things, is there really anything else I need?
In this time of hysteria and public uncertainty, let us take this time to be still.
Peace and Namaste,