Year 2019, day 13.. and with a little luck, practice, grace, and courage we can stay beneficially present with wherever we are. I got to spend the first week of the year in my birthplace of Nova Scotia. The rugged Atlantic seeps into my veins and fills this existence with joy. Not to mention spending time loving up family and dear friends to feed the gratitude well.
This fall I pushed my limits to the doors of being overwhelmed and anxious. The harder I worked, the more critical I'd find myself. This is not unique to me, so many of us do too much. When we take on too much we lose the ability to be present to a whole existence outside of where our attention is going. Being overwhelmed or anxious can take on many guises. For me it's like a mild version of discomfort in my own skin with feelings of separation and isolation. I've learned a long time ago to not fight it or try to keep it at bay, but to see it as a messenger and focus on breathing and relaxing the body. It's amazing how powerful the breath can be to diffuse mental formations.
On the plane home I was reading a story that washed over my fogginess like an astringent cleanser. I read that my suffering is the same as your suffering and my joy is the same as your joy. These words are not new to my practice but this time when I read it, it had a bolt of electric charge that said "wake up" and filled me with compassion and kindness that channeled both outward and inward. In that moment I felt the other passengers on the plane, really felt them, their fear, excitement or complacency. It was all valid, it was their story and I had no judgement and saw it no different than mine. This little wake up gift also erased my isolation. How profound is that? I witnessed my own suffering shrink and saw the potential of healing in this for any of us. It was very beautiful.
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