On no pressure

quote-letting-there-be-room-for-not-knowing-is-the-most-important-thing-of-all-when-there-pema-chodron-51-22-52

We have to remember that it’s okay to not know the outcome of something right now, or now, or now.  That we are good and fine with each moment, and that the answers will arrive in their own time.  No matter how long that time may be.

This week, I have neither retreated nor come forward.  I am seemingly in stasis, whereby I can neither give to nor receive anything emotional from my husband.  He gives to me, I see it, but I am unable to absorb it or let it be what he wants it to be in me.  I can give him love and gratitude and friendship but I can provide nothing more.

I am at the beginning of learning to be okay with relinquishing control.  No easy feat when it has been the driving force for so long.  It feels foreign.  At times, as though I am floundering.  Am I doing it right?  Shouldn’t I be feeling this, or that?

There is no right or wrong to what you feel.  You just feel.  Or you don’t.  Perhaps the feeling will return.  Perhaps it’s the same but coming at you from a different angle.  When it reaches its destination, hopefully you will know what to do that is best for you.

I have remembered this in a mantra form quite successfully this week whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed.  I breathe deeply, pause, and accept the dull ache in my solar plexus; the worry, and I give it space.  In this way, I will avoid becoming wound up in it.

 

The Way Forward

I have spent years in the wilderness.  I found a clearing a few years ago but it did not lead to any sort of opening or escape.  On more than one occasion, I thought that I could bolt through the forest to find my way out but that proved to be futile.

Now is my time, and I have found the path.

I speak metaphorically, of course.  The clearing I speak of was discovered when I began the practice of meditation in 2013.  For some, tuning in to self cannot come from simply sitting and being, but I fell into it with ease.  I understood that chatter was okay; that it was fine to set an intention but at the end of each practice, nothing need be accomplished.

It just is.  I can just.be.

Currently, there are major shifts in this soul’s life, so I returned to practice.  I came home to the sangha and was welcomed as if by family.  It’s been only two weeks since I picked up where I left off but the clarity and stillness cultivated long ago never left.  Just like seedlings in a field; they have been dormant.  The only thing they needed was for me to notice.  To provide awareness.

My path ahead is uncertain.  I know to some degree what I do and do not want.

My practice will help me through.  And forward.

Collectively Speaking

So I read another headline (they’re everywhere) with words that serve only to kindle fear, panic, and irrational reactions. By all accounts, the world is in a complete tizzy and it’s coming from all angles and sources; above ground, underground, in the air, from the people, by the people…and on and on.

Imagine this….imagine when we’ve come to a crashing stop for whatever reason. The Earth no longer supports human life or animal life – except maybe the cockroach; it seems pretty hardy. But not mankind. Imagine collectively, the human race’s mind as a light entity drifting up to wherever to face some sort of judgment, to look back, to fully realize the enormity and breadth of its existence; its impact, its awesome power.

I like to think that collectively, mankind might feel remorse and think, oh yeah…the mindful stuff, the Love and Peace stuff.  Huh….maybe we should’ve done that instead.

In that state, I don’t think there is any other way to feel. Above the sphere crammed with bodies, its gravity stuck with its flesh and bone population, it is only then that we certainly, definitely feel peace, love and absolute awareness.

I am a bystander. I observe angry people in their cars, hackles raised, ugly faces, boiling blood reactions.  I read trolls in comments whose only purpose is to stir up hatred and volatility. There was a time when I would have jumped right in with them and had my say; flung criticisms at complete strangers to fuel the anger. I have hopped in my car seat like a hot bean at other drivers, and on more than one occasion informed them of precisely how I felt by way of a finger, or a look, or an aggressive driving maneuver.

Now I am older and wiser.  Not meditating anymore, and often forget to be aware, but the work I’ve done in the last few years has laid a lasting foundation of love, peace, hope, harmony, mindfulness, and ironically, forgetful awareness.

Maybe all who have passed are simply circling the Earth in another realm, all-knowing that there is no deity, no idol. All that exists is pure consciousness and they are biding time until the human race is devoid of that flesh and bone.  Perhaps then, everyone that has ever been in all of humanity, alive and dead, will come together and the light in the Universe will shine so brightly that the darkness mankind created will be revealed.

Perhaps, even now, in the midst of so many crises and horrors, we are gathering knowledge to take with us to another place, in another time, in another dimension, and in another form.

Hopefully we will go there with a better blueprint.

Namaste Dave

Rarely do I have sea-time without having to keep an eye on the kids.  Miraculously, they all decided they were hungry at once and traipsed back up the beach to my poor, tired husband to eat.  I remained in the ocean, blissed out and floating, treading water lightly, or reclining fully to feel the weight of the sun on my face. It was glorious. I wasn’t consciously trying to be in the moment, or attempting to grasp a fleeting feeling of gratitude, things I often try to do when I take a few precious seconds to marvel at the horizon. It was enough to just be caressed by the swells, gently pushed this way and that.namastesaying

Not far from me a gentleman also bobbed around, on a small boogie board. We grinned at each other and he said, “It’s lovely out here, isn’t it?” to which I replied, “It really is.  And it’s easy just…to be.” He smiled wide and I knew that he knew what I meant. He had an immense, colorful tattoo on his back, about which I enquired.  He explained that he had been to Japan a few times and loved to meditate in their gardens, so over time he’d had a similar scene engraved on his body: soothing waterfalls, Japanese maples, ponds, trees…everything he would wish for in a place for meditation.  I remarked that it was like having his inside on the outside, and he liked the comparison. We chatted for some time, not realizing that we had drifted far from our meeting point, and past the red flag near the rocks, so we laughed and paddled back to where we started, and continued chatting. About yoga, and hotels, and family, and work, until we discovered we’d drifted again. We parted ways at that point; I had to swim back to the sightline for my husband and he had to go find his family. I asked his name; he said it was Dave.  I told him mine and as naturally as can be, I said “Namaste”.  He put his hands together and Namaste’d in return.

The next day, I was driving with the windows open in the car because it was cool enough outside.  Strands of my hair whipped this way and that, and I had tosurreal-art people squint a lot to protect my eyes from both wind and hair. It reminded me of the forces of nature; the ocean, at once giving you enough grace to hold yourself afloat but at the same time, moving you far where you thought you were. The wind, giving you the power to hold yourself steady, yet able to push you around at the same time. The forces of fate; meeting people, kindred souls, not so kindred souls, whoever, wherever, whenever, and for undetermined (or is it pre-determined?) lengths of time.

I met Dave for maybe ten minutes, and unless there are plans previously established before our lives on Earth, it’s unlikely that I’ll see him again. But I won’t ever forget him. Just as I will never forget the elderly lady at the grocery store two months ago who happily informed me of the differences between jams, jellies and preserves (Truth be told, I already knew, but wanted to connect with her because I was feeling particularly friendly that day). I won’t forget the woman with the white hat at table 15, years ago; who was so angry about waiting for her lunch that she insulted me, and thought her salad was puny. Or the waistcoated gentleman at table 13, who on our opening night scored a free meal because he was under the (mistaken) impression that his risotto had wild rice in it instead of Arborio. I will remember the father many weeks ago, showing his teenage daughter how to pump gas. She thought it was funny; he was trying to impress on her the importance of the task.  We made eye contact and in a split second, I understood his frustration and showed him that I empathized.

We shouldn’t forget the boyfriends, the old friends, the neighbors, or the random people. It would behoove us to remember not just the people who showed care and respect for us, but also the people who treated us terribly, who were rude, or hurtful, or broke our hearts.

Or is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff? What capacity we have to hold all these memories! In some way, some small or big way, every one of these people created a spark, a connection. And in some way, it taught us something, showed us something, or maybe just helped to keep us buoyed during a day. I honor all of them.

(Of course, this also applies to people online whom I shall probably never meet in person.)

Namaste, All.

 

All About the Goat.

It’s been a ‘taking time’ sort of year. That sounds wrong, as if I had snatched time away. So I guess I’d rather say I have been working on ‘being with time.’

Monsieur Goaty Goat

Monsieur Goaty Goat

This goat is the perfect example of my being with time. During soccer season, my husband drove our son to practice and to coach, and on alternate nights, I drove our daughter. The fields were located at the end of a long driveway that wound through a place stuck in time. I thought it was the coolest thing: decayed buildings with worn pictures of what looked like British Colonial Indian men wearing turbans and holding rifles. We drove by an abandoned miniature golf course, and just past that, a large penned in structure with peacocks, chickens, horses in a field beyond, and this fat goat.

It became a ritual for my daughter and I to hope that the goat was hovering at the entrance gates. Most nights he was, and we were the only ones to stop the car, get out, and say hello. The goat didn’t give a shit, of course. Merely sniffed an outstretched hand, turned and trotted off to his perch. But I loved that we did that, even as other soccer moms raised eyebrows driving by, I loved it.

Being with time was sometimes a struggle; during our moving crisis, it felt narrow and tense. Many other times, I argued with it; wanted it to speed up so that healing could be done faster; anger and resentment would fade quicker. But time goes at its pace, and we must go with it. Like the one lane road we often find ourselves traveling on, stuck behind the slow driver with no passing allowed.

In the roominess of the space I sit when I’m feeling at peace, I see how valuable this particular year has been. I will admit to clinging to certain sufferings and still, I’m not sure why. They aren’t ready to be understood yet, so I am still…always…continually…learning to accept them. But when they rise up I can lash out; I’m working on that. But mostly, time for this year has been so beneficial to the most loving relationship next to self, and that is with my husband.

Bidding adieu to 2013, a time of learning, growing, stretching, understanding, loving, fearing, anger, detaching, resentment, judging, wishing ill-will, forgiving, apologizing, making peace, reaching out, hoping, wishing, hugging, kissing, making love, creating, writing, expanding, thinking, separating, dancing, crying, seeking truth, breaking, sitting, mindfulness, meditating, thanking, gratitude.

2014 will no doubt, bring more of the same, although with a little less financial crunchiness, and that’s just fine.

Now for a little bit of visual feastiness:  My favorite video of the year. The song by itself is ok, but when I watch it with the video, it makes me so happy.

Lose Yourself to Dance. Why? Because, really, it’s just a wonderfully, uninhibited, freeing, soul-reviving thing to do.

Peace to you All.  Keep Dancing!

Fortunate.

This blog was forged at the beginning of the year; it began lightly, dancing over a veneer, oblivious of its purpose beneath. I remember at the start trying to be witty; ad-libbing funny in a thought out manner, writing about me, me, me. It felt narcissistic and full of ego and I don’t mind saying that although I enjoyed the act of writing, of sharing, it felt awkward and sometimes embarrassing; the attention-seeking sense of it all.

It is known now that this was not created by the part of me that is offered to the world; the funny, make-em-laugh girl with an easy smile and helpful manner. I know because it has become something much deeper, as if the words themselves have carved away the inside of me allowing spaciousness for soul, allowing room for spiritual growth and development.

bYvO3

Journey. I love that word –  an odyssey, a quest, progress, adventure. Life is this journey. The goal is clear in that eventually we will leave our bodies, and since this is already figured out for us, shouldn’t we make the most of our journey? We have no idea of the length of time, or what the surface will be like along the way. It’s wild and woolly sometimes, heartbreaking and filled with sorrow. Other times it’s so joyous we could burst, sometimes simply quiet and comforting.

This place here has become a proving ground, a learning ground, a welcoming hollow to write about the highs and lows. All the valleys with their dark undergrowth that seemed to go on forever, and through which I stumbled, weeping and blind. The peaks that looked out onto sunny skies. Over there, the roller coaster rides that rocked and stunned. All around, moments, people, situations…life. 

I am fortunate to  have this place, these pages, and as this year closes I acknowledge the time I have spent digging down to truth, making way for self.

I tip my hat to my friends who read. I hope I have helped or maybe *pinches thumb and forefinger together* inspired a tiny bit.

A lesson I have read many times, but only recently truly taken to heart is sitting with emotion. Thanks to Tara Brach by way of this lovely group, I am learning this: Whatever comes up, and whenever it comes up – take pause. Breathe into the feeling, allow yourself to feel it, give it room, acknowledge its presence, and it will pass. By doing this, a wiser choice can be made.

I hope to practice this during the coming year, and all the ones beyond.

Merry Christmas!

Last Year’s Language

From Mindfulbalance blog – one of my go-to bloggers for affirmations and inspiration.  He quoted this yesterday:

For last year’s words 

belong to last year’s language 
and next year’s words 
await another voice.

And to make an end 
is to make a beginning.

T.S. Eliot

A new age then for me on the last day of November.  I am now on the cusp of the mid-forties.  A phrase which makes my husband smile and nudge me with a whisper “you’re in your mid-forties…” 

You ask how the hell did I get here?  What happened to 34 or 24?  You remember where, what, why and how you were then, and a little dawning lowers like a soft light onto the stage. You could be surprised at the speed and passing of time but then you stop, listen, see everything around you. The dishwasher shushing through its watery cycles, your husband fiddling with the kids’ small Christmas trees to get the lights to work (and you know he will because he can pretty much do anything). You hear the soccer match on the telly. The taste of bacon in your mouth. The cool air on bare arms but comfy fleecy pants to keep your legs warm. You just know that everything is ticking along rightly so.

Time, space, the padding in between all the stuff we do feels fatter as we get older. I love the plump feel of it like big cushions to roll around on. As a teen or twenty-something, the air in between felt like a vacuum and I think I just got sucked through to go on to the next activity. As a 30-something new wife and mother, time and space were nowhere to be found. So, what a relief that I am here.  Now.

In love with being forty-something. Loving the discoveries. Pulling back dark dusty curtains, surprised by the revelations. Some things, some admissions, some truths cause a wince but it’s all good; it’s moving forward. And what better way to step onto the next stone than seeing what lies ahead?

A new year for me. Last year’s language has all but gone; I worked hard this month to purge, and despite one or two trips, it’s looking big and breathful ahead.

This vast, beautiful life.aurora_borealis_1-840x524