Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine (Part #5)

Greetings! Two weeks into this quarantine and the new normal seems to be settling in finally. At least for me, it’s been a moment of exploration and stretching (mentally, emotionally, and physically) way beyond my comfort zones. I’d be lying, though, if I said it hasn’t taken its toll on my mental wellness.

In the early moments of the quarantine, a dear friend posted a list of Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine. The list was compiled/written by Eileen Feliciano – a school and clinical child psychologist with a private practice in Brooklyn. It contains some very solid advice. She advised in the original post that “…I can’t control a lot of what is going on right now, but I can contribute this. ITS LONG!”

I didn’t want this to get lost. Because it’s long, I will post five tips per day in reverse order, so there will be a chronology. (If you’re joining in on this after the original post, hop to the next post to see the rest.)

I hope you find this helpful. I wish you all ease.

Mental Wellness Tips for Quarantine from Eileen Feliciano (Part #5)

21. Find lightness and humor in each day. There is a lot to be worried about, and with good reason. Counterbalance this heaviness with something funny each day: cat videos on YouTube, a stand-up show on Netflix, a funny movie—we all need a little comedic relief in our day, every day.

22. Reach out for help—your team is there for you. If you have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time. There are mental health people on the ready to help you through this crisis. Your children’s teachers and related service providers will do anything within their power to help, especially for those parents tasked with the difficult task of being a whole treatment team to their child with special challenges. Seek support groups of fellow home-schoolers, parents, and neighbors to feel connected. There is help and support out there, any time of the day—although we are physically distant, we can always connect virtually.

23. “Chunk” your quarantine, take it moment by moment. We have no road map for this. We don’t know what this will look like in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month from now. Often, when I work with patients who have anxiety around overwhelming issues, I suggest that they engage in a strategy called “chunking”—focusing on whatever bite-sized piece of a challenge that feels manageable. Whether that be 5 minutes, a day, or a week at a time—find what feels doable for you, and set a time stamp for how far ahead in the future you will let yourself worry. Take each chunk one at a time, and move through stress in pieces.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. It seems in the midst of this quarantine that it will never end. It is terrifying to think of the road stretching ahead of us. Please take time to remind yourself that although this is very scary and difficult, and will go on for an undetermined amount of time, it is a season of life and it will pass. We will return to feeing free, safe, busy, and connected in the days ahead.

25. Find the lesson. This whole crisis can seem sad, senseless, and at times, avoidable. When psychologists work with trauma, a key feature to helping someone work through said trauma is to help them find their agency, the potential positive outcomes they can effect, the meaning and construction that can come out of destruction. What can each of us learn here, in big and small ways, from this crisis? What needs to change in ourselves, our homes, our communities, our nation, and our world?

May all beings have happiness.
May all beings have joy.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Deep love and gratitude to you all.

Namaste.

Allow It

“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

~Ram Dass

Do What You Can

If you practice with me, you know I yammer on about offering the moment what it needs. Right action. I think this Teddy Roosevelt quote sums that up. No where is that truer than in our yoga community right now.

Each day since last week I receive emails with a live or video offering of classes. It is amazing to see. For some of us, myself included, teaching via these virtual offerings is out of our comfort zone. Maybe for you practicing in your home space, with all the potential distractions, is out of your comfort zone.

This moment is asking us to step outside of our comfort zones. This moment is asking, as teachers, to create space, albeit virtually, for our communities. For you, maybe it’s setting up a corner in your home to create a serene space for your practice.

The studios and gym where I teach are all in action in their own ways. Doing what they can, with what they have, where they are. Here are a couple of immediate offerings I can share:

NY Loves Yoga

Starting Friday, March 20, NY Loves Yoga will be offering a schedule LIVE ONLINE classes via Zoom (in conjunction with MindBody.) I will be teaching a 2:00pm ET on Saturdays, 7:00pm ET on Mondays, and 7:00pm ET on Thursdays in this current iteration of the schedule. For full information and details, please click over to NYLY website.

Brooklyn Yoga Project

Over the past week and a half, Brooklyn Yoga Project has been putting classes (video) online for your practice. These classes can be used at your schedule. Please click over to BYP for the full offering of video classes currently up online.

Finally, please follow me on instagram (@yogidennis) for more immediate schedule information.

May all beings have happiness.
May all beings have joy.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Deep love and gratitude to you all.

Namaste.

How to Sit

how to sit

“We spend a lot of time sitting—too much time. We sit at our jobs, we sit at our computers, and we sit in our cars. To sit, in this book, means to sit in such a way that you enjoy sitting, to sit in a relaxed way, with your mind awake, calm and clear.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

These are distracted times we’re living in. We spend so much of our day with our bodies in one place and our mind somewhere else. It’s fatiguing. And with our attention so dispersed, quite often, it’s difficult to know the right action to take. To coin a phrase, I have a plan for that!

Join me for this workshop based on Thich Nhat Hanh’s How to Sit. I’ll be drawing on the observations and wisdom of some of my favorite teachers; John Kabat-Zinn, Michael Stone, Jack Kornfield, and more. We’ll bring together some insights on the practice and learn some techniques to connect our body, mind, and breath. Most importantly, how to sit still and allow ourselves to be just as we are.

This workshop will be held at two locations:

Saturday, January 18 (4-6pm) New York Loves Yoga

Saturday, January 25 (3-5pm) Brooklyn Yoga Project

Click on the links above to sign up for the workshop.

Weekend Yoga Retreat – June 14-16

Wednesdays are my day off and outside of the mundane errands one does on their “weekend”, I’ve tried to incorporate something fun. Of late, it has been a lot of museum hopping. Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim, The Met, The Frick and so on viewing the various shows and exhibits currently on display. Yesterday, with definite Spring in the air, I wandered to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see Siah Armajani’s “Bridge over Tree“.

The piece “invites us to experience the idea of a bridge in a new way. In a world of walls and barriers, what does it mean to create points of connection, to establish relationships among different things, to invite interaction, and to build a bridge between the world and the poetic imagination?”

As I walked the inside of the bridge, the beauty of the tree was invisible.  I only saw the angles and shadows the structure created. It’s when I stepped away, created a little space, that I saw the beauty that was there all along. So often in life we only see the rough edges and never the real beauty that lies beneath. It’s important to take some time out to discover that beauty. My Wednesdays are like that. I create some space to not only see the beauty that others have created, but also the beauty that lies within me.

Once again, I have the great honor of leading a weekend retreat in conjunction with the beloved NY Loves Yoga community in a beautiful house in the Pocono Mountains. Join me June 14 – 16 for a powerful weekend when we’ll create some space to rediscover the beauty that lies within.  You’ll leave with tools to navigate the challenges of life in the immediate and throughout your life. Limited spots remain. Click here for more details.

Be well.

Something Else

So, tonight I opened up a box searching for photos of someone that was part of my life so many years ago. Often it seems like yesterday. But as I was watching so many posts on instagram for World AIDS Day I thought it important to commemorate the importance of this person in my life. Funny thing was, that’s not how it turned out.

Sometimes we want things in a certain way. But as we start to look, that’s not things unfold. We try to force things to looks like we want them to and the only thing it serves…is suffering and struggle.

As I searched for photos in a box, so many others turned up. So many images of joy and laughing. On this solemn day, it’s as important to remember the living as well as the those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS.

The photos I share are from years ago…my joyous nieces and nephews. My bawdy Mom.

Sending all of you…love.

 

54

file-3

I’ve always loved numerology. While I don’t run my life by it, it’s fun to see patterns in our life at various stages. Following is some information about 54.

If you’re an English-speaking numerologist you may like assigning 1 to A, 2 to B etc. Add up the numbers associated with the letters in LOVE and you get 12 + 15 + 22 + 5 = 54

54 is half of 108

A Rubik’s Cube has 54 colored squares

The number of milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces of Mountain Dew.

54 is also reduced to 9.

The Numerology Meaning of the Number 9
© Hans Decoz – 1987-2017. All rights reserved. Protected by Copyscape

The last of the cardinal numbers, the 9 is the most worldly and sophisticated of all numbers. The 9 has some similarities with the 6. However, whereas the 6 as a symbol of motherly (or fatherly) love, giving its love and care to friends, family and the immediate community, the 9 offers it to the world at large; the 9, more than any other number, has global consciousness. Looking at the shape of the symbol is, as always, quite telling. The 9 is like the 6 upside down, a symbol of her offering sympathy and compassion to everyone; a reservoir of giving with a generous downward spout.

The 9 lives in the world and understands the connections between all of mankind. It is a humanitarian, and sees no real difference between its neighbor next door and the person living in a very different culture and environment on the other side of the world. The 9 is the least judgmental of all numbers, the most tolerant and the most conscious.

Neither specifically masculine or feminine, the 9 seems more feminine, in large part, because she is so loving and empathetic. She walks like a queen, tall and statuesque, yet feels closely connected with the rest of mankind. At the same time, she is hard to reach, seems aloof and tends to float above the small-minded issues that can be so upsetting to others. You either love her or loathe her, but you can’t deny her the respect she demands. She has impeccable taste, is talented and creative, and can be quite eloquent when she expresses herself.

The 9 is called the “Mother Theresa” number, because when she sees injustice or suffering, she will not hesitate to devote herself to rectifying it. More importantly, she will not dedicate any energy towards receiving credit for her actions; the purity of math that is manifested when she adds to the lives of others is mirrored in the way she goes about doing good: she will not force herself upon others.

Personal Year – 9
Reflection and Reaching Out
Personal Year 9 represents fulfilling and closing cycles and readiness to advance in the coming year to a higher level with the Personal Year 1. During this time a people can feel that their property, situations and people are “getting out of hand,” and those who have no desire for change or progress can feel anxious and restless. It is a human nature to stick with what we have, but there are also people whose uncertainty does not let go of things even if there is no hope of success. It is sometimes said that a drowning man will clutch at a straw, and this also applies in this case. As well as vibration of Personal Year 7 may also vibration of Personal Year 9 cause a lot of trouble and confusion, but the difference is that while vibrations of number seven are important for the growth of spiritual awareness, vibrations of number nine are important for growth of personal awareness and responsibility.

Friendships and romantic relationships can come to an end in this period. People may move, change jobs, make long journeys, change the direction of their efforts, or lose something that is of great value to them. It is also the year in which people get responsibility, or they will take on the responsibility themselves. It may be within the family through marriage, birth of a child, or purchase of property; or it can be outside the family in connection with employment or social activities. People have the opportunity to become responsible for themselves, and to be responsible for some aspect of their life that they always wanted to change.

During this period people are forced to reorganize their priorities, and this ignites many thoughts that are taken to the next cycle where they are developed and expanded.

All activities and responsibilities of this year increase awareness and enable personal and spiritual development. Personal Year 9 is one of the most difficult years (together with Personal Years Four and Seven), but among all the difficulties that people seem to attract during this time it gives them the opportunity to learn something new and develop their personality. It is crucial to know what to look for, but when you go through your life, year after year, and compare your personal years with your successes, challenges, joys and lessons that each of these years brought to you, you will understand life a bit more than before.

Taken from Astroseek