Today, I attended a groundbreaking ceremony down at the Pike Place Market. It was for the new Market-Waterfront Expansion project which is going to be fabulous. I had never been to a formal groundbreaking ceremony like that before. It was quite cool. Standing there with a bunch of people who were living in a mindset of what's possible-a dream coming to fruition. The people who were there had great energy. There was a lot of applause, good music, great speeches, and smiling faces. The hard work was being celebrated. Now, it was time to start digging. With gold shovels.
The groundbreaking ceremony had me think about symbolic forms of digging. For instance, when we embark on the spiritual path, stuff comes up. We are constantly in the midst of a deep, long term excavation project. Things come up, moment to moment. We have the chance to look at ourselves in a new way, a new light. Examine patterns and behaviors, reactions and triggers. Similar to a construction site, it's not pretty for a long time. Little by little, clearing starts to happen and new things start to be built.
A few weeks back in my Sunday Sangha practice, my teacher gave me such wise words about our practices. She said, "You just have to trust that the practices are working. Sometimes in ways that we will never know," which were tough words to hear in the moment. Now that I have really absorbed the words, as I type them, I have a new relationship with this statement. I realize I was confronted because I have a deep, deep, deep desire to know and be certain of things. It brought up for me the fact that I am still digging and excavating my patterns and desire to have certainty in my life.
So how do we embark on this adventure of digging and excavating? I can only speak from experience, but here are a few paths I have found helpful in my own "construction work."
> Get quiet and tune in. Listening to "the heart" radio station can be some of the best talk radio out there. When we intentionally carve out time and space to get quiet, wow! Good things come up. And tough stuff too. I find meditation a solid practice, but it could be legs up the wall pose or simply sitting in your car for two minutes before heading into the office.
> Be witnessed. When we share what's going on for us, the good, the bad, the ugly, the messy bits, we can feel witnessed and validated. Find your tribe. A circle, a friend, a family member. Ask them to put on their listening. That's it. No problem solving, just witnessing and listening without judgment. I sit in circle every month on the New Moon with some fabulous people and the practice of talking stick fulfills this for me in so many dimensions.
> Move. Get in your body. We spend so much time in the world living from the neck up. When we lose connection with our bodies, things build up. We need release and our bodies are designed to move, like, really move. So whether it is a walk, morning gym dates, a yoga class on Saturday mornings before the rest of the world wakes up, find something and do it. Being in our bodies helps us process what is being excavated.
> H20. Water baby! Anytime I am processing deep emotional stuff and experiencing the thick of transition, I notice myself getting bogged down in it. Drinking water, and lots of it, helps with the processing of everything. In the yoga system, we strongly believe that our stories live in our cells. Cells need water. Water is purifying. Purify your stories.
> Sleep and rest. Anytime deep stuff is going on, especially in the processing of emotional material, it takes a lot out of us. Get sleep and don't deny yourself a few extra minutes here and there. Honor what the body needs. And if you have a chance for naps, I give you full permission.
> Tree hugging. Get outside. Plain and simple. We live in the earth element daily. The earth supports us. Go out there and let it bathe you in its beauty. A trail, a beach, a patch of grass, whatever. It's necessary and vital to our well-being and when we are in excavation mode, it can totally be a game changer.
So there you have it. Plain and simple practices when we are doing our deep digging.
The beautiful thing about digging and excavating is that it is making room for something beautiful and mind blowing. Remember that.