Updated: Mar 21
Summers in New York City are an experience. They start off easy and by August, they hit us hard. From the hot pavement to the humidity that creeps inside, summer in the city isn't for the weak. As I'm writing this article, I saw a flash of lighting, thunder is rolling in and I hope that it will start pouring soon. We've had high temperatures all week and I'm ready for a break.
Yesterday as I walked through Union Square to teach my class at The Well I asked myself, why do I live here? I was staring at the pigeon lady who feeds hundreds of pigeons pooping all over the place. Some guy was half naked yelling at the sky. I had to hold my breath a few times because the smells were intense. There were so many people who looked miserable hustling and pushing their way through the crowds. Taking the train back to Brooklyn, people looked tired.
We are tired. The heaviness from the heat, crowds, politics and just life feels like I'm wearing a heavy wool coat in the middle of this heat wave. I noticed that I wasn't smiling. I just wanted to get home and put the day to rest.
This morning when I woke up to teach my 6am class, I asked myself how can I turn this feeling around? The feeling of heaviness, craziness and overcrowding. How can I shift this for me and for you?
The energy that we feed is the energy that will grow. The smelly streets, too many people who are losing it, pavement so hot that I can't walk my dog Jagger in the middle of the day, if I continue to feed the heavy, it will only get stronger. I decided to practice the yin way. I needed to find balance. Imagine an old school scale where two holders are placed on either side. If we keep loading the holder on the right, the weight will drop it down.
To help find some balance, I turned to gratitude. I decided to list what I am grateful for. Every time I acknowledged something in my world that I'm grateful for, I could feel the scale tipping in the opposite direction.
I started to smile from within. I was feeding gratitude and it was nurturing me. What we feed grows and what we starve will eventually go away. That's with emotions, feelings, habits and more.
What if when it all feels too much, we sit down with this imaginary scale. We ask ourselves, what feeling or emotion is the opposite of what I'm experiencing right now? What can I focus on that will bring me back to balance? Whether it's joy, gratitude, acceptance, compassion, love, I hope you can use this visualization the next time you feel that it's all a bit too much.
And just like that, it's pouring! Huge raindrops coming down on this part of earth. For that, I'm grateful.