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The Urgency of Collapse

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

At a time when there is urgency surrounding every moment of our days, an urgency to communicate, to change our daily habits, to work, to create, to transition all of our jobs into a virtual space, we are also being asked to stay home, to remove ourselves from our daily out-in-the-world activities. There is a meeting point, a clashing, where the call to arms crashes into the call to withdraw. Where and how do we find a balance between action and pause?

My personal stasis, from plenty of chaos in my early life, is crisis. I am at my best when everything falls apart. I go into action mode. I see all of the problems and patterns, and my brain thrives on finding solutions. In the last two weeks, I’ve led a conversation amongst work colleagues to speak up for our rights in this changing workplace; I’ve helped several small business for whom I freelance make decisions about how and when to adjust our offerings; I’ve updated my website to include more information about myself in the role of yoga teacher; I created an entire schedule of livestreaming yoga content and put it out into the world; I’ve sat on my kitchen counter typing out this blog post (yes, mom, sometimes I sit on my counter to do work its weird but I love it).

Today, I took an online workshop. 12 participants gathered to discuss yoga, the Bhagavad Gita, and how it connects to the worlds of social justice and liberation for all peoples. Signing up for the workshop fell right into my madness of the week’s action. YES DO MORE THINGS, ALLISON! LEARN EVERYTHING! CHANGE THE WORLD RIGHT THERE FROM YOUR HOME!

And then - a large portion of the workshop demanded we all slow down. I’d like to say invited us to slow down, because that’s better language and certainly the language our leader used; but in my personal anxiety and urgency and desires for action, the idea that I would stop and breathe for ten entire minutes felt like a demand.

In my slowing, I allowed space for despair and fear to well up. The uncertainty, the concerns of scarcity, the sadness. I allowed space for emotion. To not only engage intellectually with the news of the world, but to engage emotionally with my own landscape. I had not yet given myself time to let this happen. To pause. It’s….not going great. I’m restless and electric, frustrated and scared, and pretty close to a falling apart. Except this moment is, probably, exceptionally healthy and important. This is the moment for a great cracking open. Personally and as a global culture. We needed to break. We needed this moment of collective catastrophe to pull apart our systems so we can build something better. There is an urgency not only of action, but of collapse.

My invitation to all of us this week is to allow space for pause. To see what feelings come up in the pause. To name those feelings. Breathe into them. Give them a name and a life, and then shake them around. Dance it out. Cry it out. Crack it open.

And in a little while, we’ll start to see what we can begin building next.

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