There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out-
Chances are, a vast majority of us will experience some kind of adversity today. Know what’s cool and interesting – Each one of us is blessed with the capacity to bounce back on our feet after suffering a setback in life. What’s even more cool, is that we all have the potential to improve after we dust off our knees and bandage our open wounds, or as I like to say: Become more resilient.
Sometimes we learn “things” about ourselves from the act of stepping out of our comfort zone(s). These tender moments in our lives can be a way to clarify what is truly important. I find that being open and vulnerable can be a good reminder of my prioritie(s) in life. For me, I cannot convey to you easily enough how easy it is to get swept up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle: Kids, school, work, getting a few cold weather rides in when I can, yoga class and the tedious process of signing in online. Taking some during the day to embrace the comfort of peace and hope truly helps me. Although, we don’t often associate resilience with comfort do we? Resiliency often connotes pushing aside what truly matters to tackle what lies in plain sight … Often a Son who refuses to get dressed for school and a yoga studios website that fails to load quickly enough.
We can find peace and hope in resiliency, we certainly can.
The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling-
Meditation is like that. Full of seemingly impossible contradictions! Meditation is tedious and difficult to write about given our connected-analytic nature. Meditation is much easier to explain to someone who habitually thinks poetically. Like the inspired yoga instructor who creates a magical flowing class off the top of their head, or the mountain biker who flows with little effort on tight single-track. Meditation, my kind of Meditation that is … Centers on expanding our logical thinking into poetic and logical thinking. Still with me?!?
How then do we tap into being both a logical thinker, in addition, to being a poetic thinker? This is the essential transformation that a deeply rooted Meditation-Mindfulness practice teaches us.
Allow me to change logical thinker and poetic thinker into – Mind and Heart.
A few years ago, I decided to attend a local workshop and “learn” to meditate. The plan was to attend this workshop, receive a mantra or whatever and instantly become healthier, increase my focus, and calm my crazy mind in like, 13 1/2 minutes of practice twice a day. That was the promise printed on the meditation workshop website. I was “that dude” at the time before tearing my knees apart. An over-achieving runner, and I prided myself on the hard, mindless work I put in daily. Maybe this mindfulness meditation stuff would help me compete at a higher level?!?
On the day of the workshop, as I signed in and unfolded my freezing yoga mat in the picturesque studio, something began to stir within my mind and heart. I had a warm sense of excitement and anticipation that quite surprised me. I literally had no idea what to expect from this class, however in some “weird” way, I resonated with the people who were presenting the workshop and my fellow class mates – Each one of them had a sense of calm that was palpable and real. I listened attentively to their words and the stories they shared, but it was something far beyond the resonating words that was connecting with me, stirring my soul. It’s as though I had passed through a doorway into a serene, peaceful place where my heart expanded and connected to world spinning around me.
This was the first time that I had an awareness of my mind, separate from the peaceful part of my heart.
There are two ways of experiencing Mindfulness … Mind and Heart.
this Valentine’s Day, I intend to stand
for as long as I can on a kitchen stool
and hold back the hands of the clock,
so that wherever you are, you may walk
even more lightly in your loveliness;
so that the weak, mid-February sun
(whose chill I will feel from the face
of the clock) cannot in any way
lessen the lights in your hair, and the wind
(whose subtle insistence I will feel
in the minute hand) cannot tighten
the corners of your smile. People
drearily walking the winter streets
will long remember this day:
how they glanced up to see you
there in a storefront window, glorious,
strolling along on the outside of time.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like-
Have you ever noticed that when someone does “something” to upset you – walks across your yoga mat before class, takes your line during a trail run, leans hard on you during the last corner of a local Saturday night crit race? The tendency may be to belittle them in our minds? Our inner critic and dialog begins to spool up, lamenting the “things” we would like to say to them in the moment. Or, as we so often like to do – Lump all the rude and inconsiderate people in the world together into one group.
What am I trying to convey on this beautiful Friday morning: Other people’s actions can often set off a series of reaction(s) within our hearts. Where we ruminate to ourselves, nauseously, over and over again about being done-did-bad, and there is nothing worse than being in down dog – glancing at your hands, and seeing someones foot print staring back at you!
The amount of time we spend in our mind (instead of our hearts), talking and thinking about how insufferable other people are – Is precious time spent creating hate and discord. Eventually, theses feelings will manifest themselves in other ways …
Start each day anew my friends and be sure to have a wonderful weekend!
My father would lift me
to the ceiling in his big hands
and ask, How’s the weather up there?
And it was good, the weather
of being in his hands, his breath
of scotch and cigarettes, his face
smiling from the world below.
O daddy, was the lullaby I sang
back down to him as he stood on earth,
my great, white-shirted father, home
from work, his gold wristwatch
and wedding band gleaming
as he held me above him
for as long as he could,
before his strength failed
down there in the world I find myself
standing in tonight, my little boy
looking down from his flight
below the ceiling, cradled in my hands,
his eyes wide and already staring
into the distance beyond the man
asking him again and again,
How’s the weather up there?
One love, one heart, one destiny-
True personal awareness arises from embracing our true spirit and taking ownership of the power within. That’s my personal fitness, 30 day yoga challenge, marathon training, “whatever” plan for you! Seriously, that’s all you need. Although, we happen to live in a time and place, when people do not know, let alone nurture, their spiritual life, let alone remain conscious of their soul or acknowledge its existence. Many kind and passionate folks who may not know their true-spirit, may be absorbed by “other” pursuits, their social life or basic everyday survival. These less nuanced areas of our lives, important as they are, simply fail to sustain our delicate hearts and nurture our souls.
I get a fair amount of “odd” looks of disbelief when asked – “What brought you into our new studio?” or “You had a great race today! What does your training plan consist of mate?”
My humble answer: Humility, Courage and Love.
A deep-rooted sense of humility to recognize that I am merely a visitor in this inspiring life, blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the gifts that surround me. Love has gifted me a profound perspective, that fills me with joy and peace – even during the most trying moments of life. Courage provides me the strength and confidence to say “no.” Courage allows me to define myself in the face of the moment or setting, not being tempted to compromise my true inner spirit.
Our true inner spirit enables us to surrender to inner peace, pure love, and real meaning in this thing called life.