How Do You Handle the Heat?

by Amanda Petersen

It has been an extremely hot week in Phoenix! Extreme heat pulls out of people things that, when it’s 70° and beautiful, they never would imagine. For myself, the first week of extreme heat is not pretty. I’m cranky and tired. Even if I practice all the great things I know to practice to help me lower my temper or boost my energy it still comes back to cranky and tired.

This week I decided not to manage my reaction and instead flow with it. I realized once my body gets more acclimated to the heat the cranky and tired diminish. So this is a temporary state of being. Then I embraced that my body is letting me know it needs some time and TLC.  This amazing organism that I am does not move at the speed of my understanding and it will stop my understanding in its tracks if I don’t honor all my body has to go through to move in this world. All of this led to a contemplative practice of the body this week.  

I honored the cranky and tired and rearranged and cancelled the “extras” of my week and let my body do its amazing thing - adjust. When I had the opportunity I napped. I increased my water intake. When I had to be out in the high heat of the day I made sure there was time and space to calm down before seeing anyone or just stay home and be a hermit. In the car (where my cranky seems to love to come out) I just let my cranky be like a cranky toddler. I did what I could to distract the cranky and at the same time reminded myself it’s just my body saying you should not be out in this heat! I also felt the cranky from the other drivers and this allowed me to connect to the reality that we are all amazing organisms trying to function in extreme conditions.

Sometimes spiritual practices can lead us away from the reality of our biological nature.  Humanity is a both/andhumanity/divinity proposition. For me this week of extreme heat was an opportunity to notice when I am tempted to use my spiritual practices to override my body.  This both/and is a very delicate and Divine dance. I have no answers on how to do the dance “right” all I know is every day it is a bit different and the important part is to show up and dance.

What does a contemplative practice of the body look like for you?