Monday, January 30, 2012

A Bird Takes Flight

I had a moment in yoga class today, lying on my mat, sweating profusely after having just done one set of cobra pose and the instructor wanted us to do another, where I felt she was simply asking too much of me.  Deep down bubbled an overwhelming tangle of emotions and with each movement, even my breath, it created an earthquake ready to explode.  I gathered my strength and willingness, cried a little and then surrendered to the pose and to the possibilities it presented to me.  It wasn't the pose or my instructor I was finding difficulty with.  It was my own feelings, my own powerlessness, my own life. 

Each pose I entered into, every inhale, every exhale, I moved through a murky, muddy rumbling of emotion, and I wondered if I should just lay down in savasana and give up, throw the towel in.  It's way too hard my head yelled loudly.  I knew from my own experience there was freedom to be had if I was willing to keep moving forward, not in a state of perfection, but in a state of willingness and open-mindedness.

The last few years, since the recession hit and took names, there have been many a time where the only relief I could find from what was happening was to climb a mountain and literally shove the feelings up and out with every hiking-boot step.  I would bawl and sniffle, bawl and sniffle, and climb higher and then find a place to set my weary bones and relief would spread over me like a bird opening its wings for the first time.

Yoga, this morning, was just that, a means to find freedom from the fettering of my life, of the constraints I place on what could possibly happen and how it's going to happen, when, ultimately, I do not know the happenings of a second from now or more.  At the end of class, I laid in savasana and reveled in the feeling of my body and the emptiness of mind and knew with complete certainty I could venture out into my day, meet with who I needed to meet with, and communicate with them openly and honestly and be at peace with whatever the outcome was. 

Freedom is attainable and refreshing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This is Serious Business

Seriousness.  I once heard a man suggest our minds tell us our lives are more serious than they really are and the unfortunate thing being, we believe it.  I smiled and nodded my head because I related and understood and even though intellectually I can tell myself this truth and even convince myself it is worthy of my time to be mindful of, I forget and get bogged down in the seriousness of me.

When I am bogged I am consumed and with it the essence of my life fades from this moment because I am no longer here.  How can I be here when I have serious things to think about or do?  How can I feel the sun on my cheek or the touch of my 6 year old's hands holding mine, when I'm seriously contemplating the state of the nation or the unfortunate state of my finances?  How can I have gratitude for what is in my life when I am seriously consumed with what isn't?

My seriousness is a very serious matter.

The serious situation or thought literally sucks my insides inward to a never-ending, spinning black hole.  I'm cranky, grumpy, and short-tempered.  I have little patience for those around me and my tolerance is non-existent.  I usually push through this because I seriously have to get something done or figure something out or fix something.  I become tired and hungry, which fuels my inability to play well with others.

At this point, I'm seriously screwed.  Now I have more serious situations or thoughts to contemplate or figure out because the driver in front of me just flipped me off because I wouldn't stop tailgating them and my children are acting up because I just don't have time to play or read or talk to them and my friend is disgruntled with me because I wouldn't stop talking about that one really serious matter that I just needed to fillet myself with one more time.

I mean, seriously?  You'd think I'd forgotten how to have fun or go with the flow or laugh.

But the truth is I have forgotten.

My seriousness kidnaps me from this moment and places me in my future because my seriousness is all about what's going to happen or the "what if" scenarios my mind creates.  I have forgotten where my hands are and that I need to be with them.  I need stay here in this moment and experience it for what it is and for where it's at and make changes as I move through it not before I get there. 

My seriousness comes from my overwhelming need to secure the outcomes of my life so I can feel safe, so I can feel I have succeeded.  I'm so consumed with securing my future I miss out on securing my present by being in it, by feeling it, by laughing, by going with the flow, by cultivating gratitude for what is here instead of focusing on what isn't.

My solution is a serious one... not to take myself so damn seriously.  Simple, right?  Simplicity doesn't always imply easy execution, though.

I remember I had a dear friend of mine who went for a drive, took a corner a bit too fast, and rolled the car.  She didn't survive.  I arrived at the hospital 5 minutes after she died, devastated I couldn't see her before her last breath.  I held her husband in my arms and we cried.  It hit home to me I only have this moment and nothing else, regardless of what my day planner says.

My mind convinces me I can be so serious in my life I can take it for granted, that I will always have tomorrow to do those things I never get done today.  My mind lies to me.  What I have is this moment.  How am I experiencing it?

A moment in my life consists of witnessing those around me and feeling honored by it, to enjoy where I'm at today even if I can't buy those $100 boots that would look so good with that one skirt I have.  It's about doing what needs to be done but not believing what I do is the entirety of me.  I have feelings to feel and aromas to smell and textures to touch and sounds to hear and things to see and tastes to appreciate.  There are people in my life to love and cherish, to be available to.  There are dreams to spin with action and fears to face with courage.  There is me to take care of, to feed well, to exercise with, to rest adequately.  There are strawberries to eat and mountains to climb and motorcycles to ride and camp fires to build.

To be where ever I'm at and to be conscious of it, to be in the moment moves me from just doing my life to being in my life, which is what I want today.  For me to be, I have to not take myself so seriously, take life as it comes, and enjoy the ride. And believe me, it's been one heck of a ride so far.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This is where I begin

The beginning has to begin somewhere and this is where it will begin for me, on a cold winter night with little light to expose the brilliance of the evening and more than enough snow to create a lake if the weather turned right.  The children are in the backyard with our small dog, playing, hopping, digging in the snow, crowding each other with their ideas of play.  I sit here and contemplate the few moments before this and know I am stepping forward, though the stability of my step falters and it feels like I'm stepping on air.

There are no guarantees in this world even though I may periodically demand them and even with a compelling demand I will not receive.  I have my effort to put forth and the outcome of my effort will never be held by me.  I battle against this, wanting to control my outcome, play the chess pieces just right, direct the show to my liking, the show being my life and yet what I get is the opportunity to participate in it and witness it.  I do not get to control the results of it.

Today is one of many surrenders to what is, which seems to open me to the possibilities of what could be, so this is where I begin.