An Invitation

Hello dear friends,

Welcome to this crazy new world of pollen and an epic virus. I don’t even know where to begin. There’s such dissonance between the springtime rhythms of blossoming and the call to shelter in place and practice social distancing. That’s a winter energy. Still, I am grateful that we are, at least in North Carolina, for the time being experience good weather and are still allowed to take walks and be outside as long we practice appropriate social distancing.

Social distancing, while accurate, is not a term I like. Christine Valters Paintner has reframed this as “compassionate retreat.” I like this because it suggests an action that comes from a place of love instead of a place of fear. We retreat out of respect for one another. We retreat out of a recognition that if one of us suffers, we all suffer. We retreat not in the sense of an army leaving a battle but in the sense of taking a step away from our usual modes of being and opening to something new. 

For some this compassionate retreat is a welcome respite (hello my fellow introverts!), for others a terrifying place of isolation and anxiety. Whatever our circumstances, we are all, as a global community, thrust into the unknown and forced to live more fully in the present.

On a personal level, I oscillate between periods of exhaustion, anxiousness, and disconnect as my mind struggles to comprehend the situation. It feels akin to the months after Cole was born when the immediacy of caring for a wholly dependent child plunged me into a state of overdrive with very little time to process all the ensuing emotions. Balancing my many jobs, which I am fortunate to be able to do from home, with schooling, entertaining and caring for Cole is a challenge. 

And yet, there is much to savor. I rather enjoy working from home. And it’s a treat to be more a part of Cole’s days. He has a whole life in kindergarten that I am not privy to. I try to remember this when he calls “mama” for the millionth time in an hour and when we get on each other’s nerve and lose it by mid-afternoon (or earlier). We’re doing more FaceTime with the cousins. 

So that’s just a little about where I am. I don’t really have anything of note to say as I haven’t had enough time to sit with it all. What I do have is an invitation. 

This Friday, April 3rd, I will turn 40. I was supposed to be in Boone with a friend. That of course will have to wait. In its place, I’d like to celebrate my birthday with YOU. From a place of compassionate retreat of course.

Ten years ago some friends and I spent our Friday evenings doing advanced asana together. When Hannah turned 40 she tasked us with doing 40 backbends. This remains a pinnacle life experience. When Mike, our host, turned 40, he set up a practice with our entire community and collected donations to support the food pantry. 

I’m drawing inspiration from both and THIS SATURDAY at 10:30 or 11 I will live stream a yoga practice from my living room. I won’t make you do 40 backbends but we will do something like 4 backbends held for 1 minute each, or a 40 pose sequence. Something kitchy but meaningful. I’m still working on that part. I’ll also post a link where you can donate to Dorcas Ministries. Their food pantry and crisis ministry are in high demand. They are good stewards of your money and your gift will go a long way to support the growing need in our community. 

I will post all the tech details on Friday. 

I’ve also created a page on my website with links to a few resources. There are a couple of audio practices I recorded years ago as a well as a video that was filmed as part of a pitch for a book project (more on that another day). It’s just a little something to guide you through your practice since in person classes are not available at this time. 

So, stay tuned friends, I’ll connect with you again on Friday. 

Be safe, stay well, and know you are in my heart. 

Love,

Melinda

Photo © Melinda Emily Thomas

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