Friday, January 16, 2009
Tonight I sit here at the keyboard, my thoughts warming -awaiting a 'pop' to signal an idea is ready, like raisin toast on a cold morning.
-----snap, crackle, you got it- pop! -----
Every year seems to have a theme. Three years ago was a year of loss with the passing of my father and other significant people in my life. Followed by a year of transition as I journeyed through some intensive therapy, placing my feet back on the ground. Then last year, the year of awareness, at last finding myself and the flow of what is- wuwei. Having found a comfortable space in my world, the year ended quite happily.
Mind you, usually I can't see what the theme has been until about mid December, when I sit reflecting over the previous months and the events they've held.
This year is different. What strikes me is how quickly the theme has developed. This year will be the year of emotions and change. Sure, I've experienced a whole lot of emotions in my lifetime, but how many have I actually taken the time to own...to actually feel their intensity? It was normal for me to always be three steps ahead of every conversation (and event), in my safe zone, awaiting someone's arrival on the other side. Definitely not in the moment. After all, if I've already passed by the moment no one can touch my vulnerability. Racing ahead was a defense mechanism. My, how things have changed.
Today I practice mindfulness in all things...I'm right here- right now. For I've come to learn, this now is all we ever truly own. All I have to do is "show up." A hundred percent present. Living through all my senses. Even now as I type, I can feel the softness of the keys under my fingers, hear the music on the radio, smell the floral scent of dryer sheets drifting in from the laundry room, taste the cherry gatorade I'm sipping, and of course, see the words I'm typing.
Of course, moment to moment my senses find something new to experience. Perhaps the sound of an adult child on the phone, or a cool graphic someone sent me in email, or even a hug. Yeah, what about a hug?
Here's something for you to try. Lots of people hold their breath when they hug someone. It's true. I didn't believe it when my counselor first told me that fact- until I found myself actually doing it! Anyway, go grab someone and hug him/her....mindfully....in other words, be conscious of your breath....hug him/her and BREATHE....mind you, I didn't say PANT! lol...just breathe...from your stomach...where we were meant to breathe....long, slow, and deep...then relax into that hug...actually feel the other person's arms around you...the warmth, the softness, the safe security this embrace rewards you with, his/her breathe on your neck, his/her scent...feel the beating of his/her heart against your body-rhythmic and strong...lastly, feel the love. Don't allow your mind to wander to the clothes waiting to be folded or how many emails are needing answers... stay in the hug....fully and completely....then release... Now that's a hug...and you're feeling pretty good, aren't you?
Hugs are supposed to feel good...they are medicinal- when enacted correctly, they release chemicals in our brains that make us feel better. Now that I've taken you through a mindful, fearless hug, imagine living every second of every day from this space...mindfully showing up....better still, forget imagining - just attempt to do it...and watch how beautiful life can become. After all, there's no anxiety here- you are not worrying about what is coming next...and there's no depression because you are not looking back at past events...you are here and now...where in this now everything is okay.
Yes, it takes practice. I've gotten a whole lot better at this feat after two years of consciously working on it. Sure, it makes me much more vulnerable...but I'm finding a whole lot of beautiful moments too. And as I find safety in mindfulness, I'm building up fearlessness....courage to experience new things...to be vulnerable...open....more loving, more compassionate. Breathing life into love and love into life...that's become my own personal quote...where I live from everyday.
Back to this year's theme- emotions and change. I'm learning not to run from the intensity of my emotions. Today I allow love to breathe. I know what it is and I'm not afraid of where it leads me in my relationships. After all, I only have to 'show up-' one moment at a time...fearlessly. I've learned to trust this life we breathe in...everything will end up where it is meant to be...all I need to do is float. This fearlessness has rewarded me with many wondrous surprises. Many of which were right in front of my eyes all the time I was running away. So glad I stopped and caught my breath!
In my journey of mindfulness, I've claimed joy, understanding, laughter, compassion, awareness, and yes, love- the greatest of all emotions. Not only have I claimed them, but I've felt them in their highest intensity. In retrospect, it's amazing how many wonderful mindful moments I've collected already this year...with eleven months to go!
Sure, I have plans, goals and dreams...and when the moment is right, I'll experience their realities. For this moment will lead me there...one moment at a time. I already see them materializing.
On that note, I wish you the joy that only true mindfulness and vulnerability of spirit will bring you....now, go grab a hug.