Mindfulness not only makes it possible to survey our internal landscape with compassion and curiosity but can also actively steer us in the right direction for self-care.
― Bessel A. van der Kolk,
When I walked into yoga this afternoon, my teacher stood in front of my mat and asked, “How are you?”
“I’m okay,” I responded: the truth, after a gruelingly challenging Monday I some how made it through. “How are you?”
“Okay,” she responded as if mulling it over. “You’re like, ‘I made it. I’m here.'”
Inhale. Exhale. Exhale again.
This morning, I experienced a series of unfortunate events that I somehow made it through. My story of growing up on OM is a story colored darkly with bodily trauma, and painted over with a sheen of brightly-colored emotional recovery. This morning’s events triggered those feelings of trauma…and I made it through those moments, to a 5:15pm yoga class and more.
Today was one of those days when I realized the vitality of providing an honest response to the question, “How are you?” Like a reflex, reply, “Good,” even – and almost especially – when we’re not. But our vocabulary contains more words for a reason. We feel more things than “good.” And even though it might seem like people are asking that question as a courtesy, that question is also an opportunity. An opportunity to check in, to respond, to pause, to regulate. More than that, when we respond honestly – and this my yoga teacher from this afternoon taught me – we become the kinds of people that others feel comfortable responding honestly to.
So, how are you?