A while back, between stay-at-home orders, something happened that hadn’t happened in several months. We paid an in-person visit to my mother. She has dementia and is living in a small care facility 15 minutes from where we live. She receives excellent care and has been kept safe during the pandemic, where she is one of the most vulnerable, and for that, we are extremely grateful. 

We visited outside wearing masks and socially distancing from her, and as we were saying our farewells, she indicated that we were forgetting something…giving her a hug good-bye. My heart broke a bit as we looked at her and told her we weren’t allowed to give her a hug at the moment. She offered a resigned shrug and said, “Okay.” As we drove away, and for the next couple of hours, I had an underlying sense of agitation. It was a difficult visit in some ways, trying to navigate a conversation behind a mask with an 88-year-old person who relies more on body language than spoken words. The inability to rub her back and sit close by to share a recent slideshow felt disconnecting, and what I found myself needing afterward was to offer myself grace.

“One of the unspoken things we can turn to in challenging times is to soften.”

– Jayne Robertson

As I reflected upon my own need for grace, it expanded to not only my mother but to so many beings who have been greatly impacted around the world. 

One of the unspoken things we can turn to in challenging times is to soften; soften our reactions, our expectations, what we say, and how we act toward ourselves and others. I was reminded to hold myself gently, once again, without hardening my heart.

I realize I’m not the only one needing to find grace. People are fragile at the moment. It’s no wonder with an on-going pandemic, interruption and re-organization of what we knew to be our “normal” lives.  Add to this a political shift and uncertainty about the roll-out of vaccinating a nation and the world beyond, it’s no wonder that people are feeling ungrounded and wobbly. It’s the perfect time to invite self-compassion in order to emerge on the other side of all of this with less suffering and more empathy and kindness.

I have a few suggestions in navigating your way into receiving more grace. The first is to have a “news fast.” Unplug from the breaking headlines and social media for a day or more. Other ideas are to get outside into nature and feel the elements – bare feet on the earth, wind in the hair, sun on the face. Stop and smell the roses; moon and star gaze; put your hands in the dirt. Offer kindness to others; they may need a dose of unexpected grace more than you could know. 

And finally, let go of having to be any particular way right now. I’m trying to soften my connection to perfection. I hear myself saying, “It’s okay for it not to be perfect. Let it go.” And in that, I find what I need…a moment that feels like an unraveling that shifts into one of connection – that of myself to my own heart.

Jayne Robertson is owner and instructor at Desert Yoga Therapy. For more information, visit www.desertyogatherapy.com, call (760) 456.5160 or email [email protected].

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