Moving soon? Watch your vata
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
One of my Ayurveda professors once told our class that moving is one of the most stressful events in a persons’ lifetime. As someone who has moved at least every couple of years, I was dubious about this statement. In my twenties, I could manage to move from state to state, country to country, with a couple of suitcases and a backpack on my back, and sell the rest of my stuff. I never kept many valuable possessions with me, I was living the adventurous artist life much of the time, so I never had trouble letting go of things. Perhaps at the time, a little more vata disturbance from moving was not going to greatly disturb someone habitually on the move.
After more than a decade of living like an aimless nomad, I had finally decided to settle down a little, make a home with my partner and our two cats, and grow some roots. We’d been in our previous apartment for over a year, but after having had things stolen on multiple occasions, having had my vehicle tampered inside our garage, and with the overall stressful environment in our neighborhood, we made the choice to move to a quieter neighborhood closer to the beach. Being completely cocky, I thought, well, we’re only moving 15 minutes away, we can just move our things over slowly while we continue to work and operate life as usual.
How very wrong I was. This move blindsided me like a truck. It turns out my professor had a point - whether you are moving across town or moving across the country, moving is a major life upheaval combined with a collection of barely coordinated parts, and things never really go as perfectly as planned. And the more people, possessions, pets, etc. you have to move, the more chaotic it gets. Because of this, moving is considered a major vata-aggravating event. Because of the mobile, light quality of vata, and with the actual physical movement of people and possessions from one place to another, moving can often come with anxiety, overwhelm, and even physical symptoms such as gas and constipation. Dealing with a new space can also be disorienting because of the etheric element in vata involved. Because of the busy schedule of moving, it is easier to neglect regular meal times and to forget taking in enough water. My self-care routine went out of the window, along with my yoga and capoeira practices. To make matters more complicated, I was counting on being able to transfer my internet service seamlessly from one home to the next, but due to wiring problems at our new apartment along with slow service times, we ended up having to wait nearly two weeks. There was a lot to handle!
By the grace and generosity of friends, family, and local cafe internet, I was able to carry out the majority of my workload while waiting for our internet technician. I spent a lot more time walking around our neighborhood, working out at the beach, visiting the local shops, and smelling the flowers. I looked at my phone less and even made a few new friends. And eventually, everything got moved over and all was well again.
Here are the lessons I’ve learned from my last move, from an Ayurvedic perspective: