The bitch of it is, there is no control. Not really. There are disruptions far beyond our foresight that no amount of catastrophic thinking and worrying and anticipating can, well, anticipate. So why do we do it? In this moment, are we in the worst-case-scenario? Most likely, no. And if we're honest--how often has that worst-case-etc. come about? Once? Maybe? Twice?
In all the experiences of all of our days, that's not much to get worked up about.
And yet, we do.
The cure for this madness is simple and portable (and therefore completely forgettable for most of us)--the breath. Just this inbreath. Then, just this outbreath. The mind wanders, gently call it back. This inbreath. This outbreath. This not-worst-case-scenario moment. This ease.
I love quilting--I love the order of it, the timelessness, the age of it, the practicality and artistry of the project, the lines, the geography of pattern. But for my brain to settle, I need one of two things: a piecing pattern to follow or a limited palette of fabric with which to work. I am, alas, not the caretaker of a brain that can sweep into the fabric shop, pick pieces at random, and then--without plan, without pattern--arrange them into some kind of original, beautiful piece. I've tried. My brain just shuts down and asks for Netflix.
What I've realized from this, well, many things, but mainly that it's okay to like patterns. It's okay to like subtlety, to adhere to the lines in the coloring book, not because we're *supposed* to, not because there are rules (there aren't), but because it pleases the eye and soothes the soul. Obviously, this isn't limited to quilting or ceramics or painting or whatever your hobby, but our crafty/maker leanings inform us a great deal about what wo...
Sometimes the practice--in meditation, in yoga--of calling forth an intention to carry one through the day is easy, organic. But, like everything else in this experience of existence, there is no such thing as a universal fit. For me, bringing forward an intention is too limiting. I think the problem is putting it into words--ironic for a writer? Maybe not. Maybe writers understand all too well the limitations of language.
And, yes, the intention could be more of a feeling, a space one wants to enter as the day progresses, but even that, for some of us, can seem like an impossible wish list. Instead, I've begun to ignore the intention bit, the wish list bit, focusing instead on the sound, the tone of this body in this moment.
That's weird, I know. To explain: I love listening to choral music, and one of the most peaceful, soothing, stunning phenomena I can cultivate is that easy clarity of tone achieved in certain pieces of music. Just one note, just one resonance, one voice....
I could be wrong, but I think we all have entered a daily, or at least weekly, battle with anxiety--even those of us who have been blessed with an anxiety-free constitution. It's the nature of the times, I'm afraid. But perhaps that's the lesson of this incarnation--steadiness and an ability to keep one's heart up, full, and beating.
The heart, of course, is at the mercy of the mind, unless we create habits otherwise. On that note, I found a wonderful meditation for anxiety--so simple in its brilliance that, like the best magic tricks, it seems obvious in the reveal. This is it: you don't have to accept every thought that enters your mind. You see, the brain is canny and clever (or a pain in the ass, depending on perspective)--it assumes every thought you have is truth, reality. And because of that 'reality,' our bodies respond in real time--the heart races, the breath dwindles, adrenaline floods, and what was clear sight becomes nothing more than a pinpoint in scope.
I used to say I was an ocean girl, but I realized that brought to mind tan, blonde, California surfer girls (the badass, big wave girls). And while in my teenage years and my 20's, I desperately wanted to be that, I am not that.
What I am is a shore girl, a borderland girl. I love the wind and the salt and the dichotomy of incremental and immediate change that the shore evokes and displays. I'll go out on the water, show off my lousy sailing skills (in truth, I'm a better surfer than sailor, but I do row a mean scull), but I'm happiest in the salt and the wind and the sound that comes when there is no thought, only old, old blood and salt memory.
I'm going to be honest with you guys--I really rarely have no idea what I'm going to write when I sit down with these Satyas every morning. Some mornings I think, this is it. This is the day it will fail to happen. But it never has--not in four-plus years of doing these. Some days I get up and think, good lord. I cannot write another thing; I'm empty and no one wants to hear it anyway. But I always do it. It's like my meditation, my daily prayer, my daily practice.
Continuing in this full-disclosure fun--I'm tired of the hustle. You know? Seriously. I'm so tired of shlepping and shopping my wares, my classes, my education, my time, my money, and pouring it into this thing I call a career, but which certainly doesn't act like one. That's what was on my mind this morning as I dragged myself around my routine, so it ended up in the Satya (that's how these things always get created--whatever is floating around, unsettled, lands on the page to sort itself out).
One of the best experiences I ever had while studying at 7 Centers Yoga Arts (and there were many, many, many), was during a meditation, dropping the mind into the heart. The mind, the awareness, whatever you choose to call it.
Here's how it worked for me--you know that sort of electric/crinkly feeling you get in your head when you've been up in there far, far too long? Well, I pulled that feeling down (it was tangible, so I began there) into my heart where it sort of dissolved. My whole chest became warm and everything softened, so I just held it there. I *put* my mind *into* my heart. And all of a sudden, the world opened.
My head stopped buzzing and whatever had been flying around in there, smashing against the windows, trying to get out, now felt free--like it realized it was never trapped to begin with. Everything that had been spinning and sucking so much energy up in that tiny cave of my skull now had the whole spacious and airy chamber of ribs to loop in and around....