What brings you home to yourself?
Last summer the yoga studio where I have been practicing yoga for almost 15 years went bankrupt. They were bought by another Austin studio and rebranded (new owners, teachers, vibe, etc.). This studio was my second home. While practicing yoga in this space six to seven times a week, I had written books (in my head), found moments of supreme clarity, unleashed new ideas and always found my way back to my body and breath.
This past fall I attended a yoga class with an unfamiliar teacher at the new studio for the first time. I’d been going through an unusually stressful period so I was surprised to observe how safe, grounded and at ease I felt after this class. Then it struck me: my nervous system recognized this space. This largely unchanged room, which was as intimate to me as my own living room, is one of the places where I come home.
This idea of where and how we come home has been sitting with me for a while. I just read my 18 year-old jazz pianist son’s college essay (Music Brings Me Home To Myself), where he shares that when life gets difficult or he feels lost, he sits down at our family’s 60 year-old Steinway and instantly lands.
In this time of rampant anxiety and turbulence this idea is timely and important. While I believe we can cultivate the ability to come home to ourselves anywhere at any time, many of us need context or a visceral reminder to help bring us here.
Where and how do you come home? Consider:
- Who in your life offers a soft place to to fall: a space of compassion, acceptance and safety where you can come as you are (whether you have to meet via phone, Zoom or 6-feet apart on a walking trail)?
- What spaces in your home or in a family member’s home elicit that relaxation response that I described experiencing in my old yoga room?
- Where in the natural world do you most feel at ease and calm? Nightly swims at Barton Springs Pool re-set my nervous system; I can feel my blood pressure lower as soon as I pull into the gravel parking lot. I hope I can go back there this summer!
- What practices bring you back to yourself? For some this might be yoga, walking a favorite trail, making a cup of tea in a beloved mug or taking a warm rose-scented epsom salt bath.
Bessel A. van der Kolk, author of the wonderful book The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, says, “In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”
This week try paying close attention to how your body feels in the various spaces you occupy as you move through your day. Be curious about how and where you come home to yourself. I’d love to hear what you observe.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.