Tapas: austerity, discipline, fire, the heat necessary for birth or transformation. To practice tapas is to intentionally put ourselves into discomfort in the service of our own growth and transformation. Decidedly not the delicious Spanish snacks. Tapas is the intentional practice of getting out of our comfort zones to be stretched; to consciously step into the fire which creates change. This might sound crazy when the outside world already has us in a pressure cooker, but if it’s true “as within, so without,” the discord, unrest and anger we see at every turn must also have root within us. We need to put it in the fire.
For all of the things that are out of our control, unmanageable, incomprehensible, it is still possible (and necessary!) to make tiny choices in the direction of something better. We can weave tapas through our days by creating little disruptions in our habits and comfort with the intention to make ourselves more clear and awake, more present and mindful. Our ability to change ourselves, and navigate that change with grace allows us to navigate external chaos with greater ease as well.
So, what can you change in the coming weeks, as tensions and anxiety mount? What would be most helpful? One of the things that’s been top of mind for me (and is showing up over and over) is nourishment. Without it we cannot survive, much less thrive. And when we follow the patterns of habit or the many directives of culture, we may be left undernourished- without that which we most deeply need for renewal and strength.
Let’s break it down:
Body – At the most basic level of nourishment, what are you putting into your body? Are your “comfort foods” healthy choices? If your alcohol, sugar or processed food consumption is at an all time high, consider making a shift this month. What discomfort are you numbing through your consumption habits? Can you lean into the discomfort of denying unhealthy cravings as a way to employ tapas? What could change if you did?
Mind – If your computer or phone has a time tracker (most do) take a look at how much time you spend plugged in— and into what. How many hours per day do you spend reading or watching the news and/or scrolling social media? Could you limit that to one hour per day? You know it’s true: garbage in, garbage out. What vibration do you want to contribute to the collective and is your vibrational input equal to or higher than your desired output? More inspiration, more clarity; less drama and spinning. This is good for everyone.
Spirit – I’ve heard so many people talk about the heaviness of the world, the static, the noise, the friction. Do you feel that? If so, what are you doing to counterbalance that energy? While many of our old ways of filling up are unsafe or not possible at this time, focus your energy on what you can do. How can you connect with the people you love the most? What makes you laugh? How might you stoke your creative fire? How much time are you spending in nature? How frequently are you on your yoga mat and meditation cushion? Every choice we make is moving us in the direction of joy, peace and expansion or down the drain of contraction, anger, separation. You get to choose.
It’s important to remember that this is not just about you. The clarity (or darkness) you cultivate is the pool from which your words and actions rise. Spiritual practice, particularly the practice of raising your personal vibration, is not just in service to you, it is in service to everyone around you. Our world needs us to show up clear, strong and steady. Are you doing what’s necessary to make that happen?
I hope you’ll make a commitment to a few little changes for the next month to not only help you navigate the stressful pre-election waters, but make a positive contribution to your individual environment and the energy of the collective. If not you, then who?