Monday, January 16, 2012
Don't Remake; Just Awake!
It's mid month, but my January magazine subscriptions have just arrived. January issues are never my favorite- they are always skimpy and austere. After all the excesses of the holidays, that feels good and right most of the time. After feasting, buying and celebrating, fasting, saving and quiet feel just right. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
But this year as I flipped through the pages, urging me to start a cleanse or rid my life of clutter once and or all, I was shocked at all the striving. Each page reflected a deep belief that only greater and greater effort will make me into a person deserving of love, admiration, success. Yet that endless pushing is what makes life so unbearable at times.
Those pages reinforce the idea that I am not good enough the way I am at this moment. I need to lose weight or find a better career, or learn to speak fluent Spanish first. And oddly enough, believing that I need to become better seems to prevent me from recognizing how beautiful I already am. With no changes. Just as I am. Just as my life is in this moment.
Instead, I am learning to practice just being. I am learning to stop judging, myself and others both. It's about really living in this body I have, and I am starting to see that doesn't mean I have to go sky diving or spend my 30th Birthday in Paris on top of the Eiffel Tower. How well I am living my life has nothing to do with how glamorous my life appears to be.
Really living means being present enough in this moment right now to feel my fingers gently rap on the keys. Hear the delicate clicking noises my keyboard makes as my fingers sail across it. As I concentrate on listening to all that, I suddenly hear the bird song outside too, doves cooing and a wild cacophony of cackling from the Myna birds. I can hear one grounds keeper outside whistling to himself, then stop for a moment to chat with a friend in Filipino. I feel my back against the cushions I am resting on, the blanket touching my skin. I feel my life inside me.
That surrender to the moment is far too rare in my life. Instead, I've been rewarding myself for surviving unpleasantness with tiny pleasures (food! shopping!) or in anticipation of them. I've been surviving. This is a shadow life and I feel as if I am waking up as from a very very deep sleep. In stages, gradually, slowly, inch by inch.
How do you remember to stay present in your life? I am re-reading "The Power of Now" and it serves as a great introduction to these ideas. The first time I read it though, it was like stirring up a hornet's nest. I felt like I was losing my mind! (I'm sure Eckhart Tolle would say that is precisely what happens when you begin to awake because you learn not to give the mind such deference.) Yoga seems to help as well- did you know yoga means "to yoke"? It teaches the practitioner how to yoke the mind and body together so that they act in service of the spirit. What a beautiful lesson!