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How are you? What do you need? Six tips to shift your day for the better
...how you do things matters; offering care, touch, prayer, pleasure, and play into your experience of the world
This morning, in a half awake state, I asked myself a question.
I think it is a good question as the answer can tell you a lot about what you need and how you might care for yourself, in the moment, with more love.
It came to me yesterday, as I was practicing yoga. At my hotel, the Antiresort, there is a beautiful yoga platform that is built on the edge of the sea. The organic shape reminds me of a giant mushroom growing out of the ground. I like that. I like moving my body under a giant mushroom by the ocean.
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I was told the Antiresort mistakenly built this platform on city-owned land, so the hotel made an agreement with the municipality and now anyone can use it. I am happy to hear it as I am considering moving here and I like this beautiful place a lot.
The value of pleasure and play
The day before, I was sitting on my porch gazing at the sea and noticed a new friend moving through her exercise routine on the platform. She was using an app and I could hear it telling her to move fast, do more, “go, go, go!” She told me later that she likes to workout this way. Yoga is not for her.
Out in the ocean, her 18 year old son and husband were surfing.
I saw them come in later and mentioned that they must be tired. They are both named George. She told me she expected a girl and so when her son arrived, she had no name for him. So, that is how George got his father’s name, along with a middle name from someone in the family who had passed away. It was sweet.
18-year-old George is more reticent, but his father, George, is outgoing and like his wife, has befriended me. He looked at me with sparking blue eyes and told me, after a short pause (because clearly, he hadn’t really thought about it), that yes, he was probably a little bit tired.
And then he started telling me about how they were considering going out again soon and how the waves would be great in just a few hours. He was like a little kid on a playground ready to go down the slide, again!
Both Georges were fit, as are all the surfers I have seen here. I don’t think it is possible to surf here, really surf in a playful way, without a high level of competency that comes from many hours in the water. I think the older George is close to 60 and he is built like a Greek statue with a big, happy smile.
As I moved through my yoga poses, which I was doing slowly, I was enjoying the process in my own way. I have practiced yoga now for about 25 years, with a break of a few years here and there. We all need to pause now and then. Sometimes we need to completely let go of something. But yoga is a thing that so far, I enjoy or come back to again and again.
Yesterday, a bit like those surfers, I was feeling the nuances in my body and it felt good. I was feeling tiny muscles and playing with moving my spine in a wave. I was engaging my core, my legs, pulling my energy in and sending it out into arcing backbends. Sometimes I would simply stand and draw energy up from the earth, through the center of my body using my hands and then draw it down from the sky.
In front of me, the surfers continued to dance in the smooth, light infused waves, near dark, rocky volcanic cliffs and a great three-story boulder that protruded majestically from the ocean. They were adept. George and his son were out there. So was another girl I met who is on a surfing team in college in Florida. Her dad was taking pictures of her that morning. Soon after, he was surfing with her.
How were they?
They were enjoying surfing.
How was I?
I checked in with myself while practicing. I noticed I was enjoying the feeling of the movements. I was enjoying going really slow and I noticed how that really did serve me. I could feel the physical benefits from my yoga practice and I noticed I wasn’t practicing to get or be fit. I was practicing because the practice itself felt good, just like the surfers who were surfing simply because they loved it.
What feels good to you? How you do something matters and it is ok to enjoy things:
Sometimes, it is a choice how you do things, that matters even more than what you are doing.
I could have been “practicing yoga” as I had in the past and gone through a set series of poses and made sure I did a certain number of Sun Salutations A and B. I could have given myself a “pinnacle pose” and come up with some other poses to help me get there. And I could have thrown in some ab work for good measure and done it fast.
I used to do that.
And instead, I enjoyed the feeling and process of it all.
Honor how you are; offer yourself some care:
I do my best not to practice that way anymore. Now, I am able to savor things when I practice on my own, at my pace. I can honor how I am that way and I can feel more.
Feel your body, touch yourself with love:
As I moved on my mat, and asked myself that question about how I was and I offered myself some care. I put my hands on my shins in my forward bend, gently, and I touched myself with love.
I did do arm balances, and I did them while enjoying a feeling of strength and precision. It was fun.
Movement, prayer, gratitude, and offering:
I thought to myself how the movement I was doing was a form of prayer and I allowed my body to move on its own a bit. I allowed movements that came from my body and not my mind. And I offered my movements, with gratitude, to the divine energy field that is way, way beyond my capacity to understand.
I loved it. I loved the moving, I loved the field around me through my movement, and I loved myself.
How are you?
Sometimes, I asked myself how I was? I touched myself with care again. Sometimes I stood and swung my arms a bit.
I was doing fine. I was having fun. I wan’t exercising. It was happening as a side benefit, just like it was for a lot of those surfers.
Later in the day, I went to see Antonio. Antonio is building a new hotel here. He has deep, liquid, brown eyes. He is from Spain. On his property, men are finishing a pool. Rebar is visible in many places. He is in the midst of building a dream. I had texted him to see if I could rent a room for a month at his place in a week or so and didn’t hear back. That was fine with me as I understood. Antonio is busy and has a lot on his mind.
So yesterday, I strolled over to Antonio’s’s place. I was still in my yoga clothes. Pink tights and a white top. Antonio said to me, “Oh, you were the one doing yoga this morning!” It seems that Antonio was also out surfing those beautiful waves. Even real estate developers have some dang good priorities.
He mentioned that he saw me from his surfboard and could tell I was feeling the energy here, of this place, this tiny village of Mizata. And he was right.
Become more present with yourself and honor what you find:
If you really check how you are doing and feeling, you become more present with your own inner beauty in whatever state you are in
When you check in with yourself, and say, “how am I right now?” you are more “here” in the world. Really, if you are God’s prayer, you are honoring something, something beautiful. You are honoring yourself, even if what you find is painful, or sad, or confused. That part of you needs to be honored and loved too.
I have a practice partner. We work together on-line to investigate different energies and to grow our capacities in how we navigate the world. She lives in England, far away from me. Nevertheless, when she shows up on my screen, it is like she is next to me. A few times she smiles and asks this question, “How are we?” It changes our whole time together when we pause to see what the answer is.
This morning, I began to wake up. You know when you are on the edge of sleep and don’t quite know where you are? This happens more frequently to me now after selling my house over a year ago.
I have been traveling, and there have been moments when I wake up and have no idea, for a few seconds, of where I am at all. Sometimes, I don’t even know the country.
Some people tell me I am lucky. I do feel blessed and there are many choices I have made that I imagine those same people wouldn’t be willing to make. At least not yet.
Today, I leave this hotel and take a taxi to a new town. I have to pack, which is always a bit daunting, as I came here with a one-way ticket and no sense of how long I would stay. I packed as light as I could and I still have a lot of luggage. I can just barely manage to move it on my own.
In my half asleep state, as my upcoming day moved in and out of focus, I asked myself how I was? And I wondered about you and how you might find the question sweet as well. How that question gives me a tiny pause and an opportunity to check in with myself and offer a little care.
I believe there is a saying from somewhere, ‘As above, so below,’ ‘As within, so without,’ or something like that. I really believe that as I offer love and care to myself, as I feel how I am and what I need, as I invite more play and dance into my experience of the world, I also offer that to others from a state of ease.
Life doesn’t have to be one long push through things until you can finally quit those things and be free.
How am I? You can ask yourself this and then find what feels supportive for yourself in the moment. Even if your moment is tough, there is always time to rest your hand gently on your thigh, or touch your own hand with care, just for a moment. No one can tell, but the love you offer yourself matters and you are worthy of it.
My friend with the exercise app was having her own experience of care and fun. She really likes to workout that way. She told me so. That is care too. We can have different ways. The Georges have their own ways. You have your way. You may love pushing yourself through certain things. That is not wrong. What matters is how you are while you are doing it? Does it feel, in some way, good to you? Where do you need a little care?
You can’t ask yourself that question without becoming a little more present with yourself and it is nice to do that, and fun.
Time on the planet for all of us is limited. There is nothing wrong with savoring it as best you can. Even if you are in the hot sun digging a ditch, as some people are here (and they pause and smile at me in the kindest way—just saying). Even those people, in those circumstances, might stop and take a moment to drink some water. They might pause to make a joke with a friend. Or they might discover they have lots more energy and have fun digging harder, faster, deeper. How you do things is what matters.
How are you, right now? What would your body like? What would your soul feel good doing? What would be fun for you? Maybe fun is part of our inner compass and becoming a butterfly does not have to be one long grueling process. Even packing doesn’t have to be daunting.
There is coffee by the front desk for a few hours in the morning in a big container. Good coffee. Some of us have learned to hover there and enjoy it until it is gone. I will do that today, before packing. It will feel good. It will be fun.
And how am I? I am good. I am here, writing what came to me whilst lying in bed, with a lot of ease. And I am listening to ocean waves. The room is cool with air conditioning, which is silent, like I like it.
Will I do yoga again? Probably not. I am sore a bit from yesterday in a good way, and a little tired. I have a coffee personality and in this beautiful place, I will give myself a few hours to simply enjoy it before packing.
Perhaps I will watch the Georges again, dancing and flying through and over the glassy waves? Maybe I will take a few minutes to lie in the hammock? Or something else. I embrace the unexpected frequently.
And now, I am headed for coffee and the other post I wrote for you yesterday, that I worked on for hours?
Well, I think this is the one I will send you next week. It was fun to write, it was easy. I think in the best of worlds, that is how things can be. Asking yourself a few questions frequently can help get you there.
How are you? What do you need?