Several days this past week I’ve woken up to find our street enshrouded in dense fog. This is a common phenomenon around the region as the warmer weather gives way – slowly – to chillier temperatures.
Fortunately for me, I rarely have to go anywhere while it’s still foggy out, and my “commute” to the Temple is less than a mile. Still, there’s always a list of things to do in the morning, and that’s ok—I’m generally a morning person. Truth be told, however, this kind of weather, combined with shorter days, just makes me want to sleep! Does anyone else relate? Many other species (and not just bears) are programmed to prepare for and begin hibernation when the temperatures go down. I believe we humans still have vestiges of that instinct.
Thus we have the set-up for autumn stress. I set my alarm to allow what is generally a reasonable amount of sleep, and after the initial alarm goes off, I allow a 10-minute snooze. I also immediately turn on a bright light. But apparently that’s still not enough. I’ve been hitting that snooze button at least two times every morning for the past week before finally feeling awake. The result? I already feel “behind schedule” by the time I get out of bed. My rational self appears to be competing against my primal self for control– that’s exhausting in itself!
Writing this, however, has offered an “ah-ha” moment: this push-pull feeling is just one more challenge I can pray about and meditate on. We’re told our journey on the spiritual path is 50 percent God’s grace and 25 percent our Gurus’ blessing. So much of life is truly beyond my ability to control—so why not let my Divine friends do it? Once again, the goal is to find the balance, an inner harmony with what is rather than a constant feeling of stress and struggle.
For those who, like me, sense our primal instinct for hibernation but also have busy lives to live, finding a way to honor both “pulls” can be challenging. What strategies have you found to be successful? Below is a suggestion from Melody Hansen, an Ananda Yoga teacher located at Ananda Village, for an “autumn restorative yoga pose.” Let’s try it. And while we’re talking about grace, be sure to enjoy Jayadev’s article, “Cooperating with Grace,” at the end of our newsletter. In between you’ll find all kinds of opportunities coming up to help you revive or strengthen your own inner harmony.