Sunday, March 28, 2010

Change That Song

It is March; the semester is beginning to overwhelm me. I caught myself this morning lamenting on what I lack in life. Which isn't much, my gratitude cup runneth over. Yet I can see where I need help. On a few occasions I have asked for that help and received it. But the fact does remain that I am a single mom, commuting to school, raising a teen and juggling schoolwork with the details of everyday living. About this time of year, the weather teases us with bouts of beautiful weather followed by snow, the professors start piling extra assignments on, taxes are due, financial aid is due, summer employment must be procured and realization hits that I haven’t gotten to the grocery store since January. It is at these times when my ego takes over and starts to sing the “poor me song.” It is really rather sappy, melancholy notes followed by choruses of wailing. But what about meeeee? This song will not win any awards, and I will still have an exam to study for and an appointment with the accountant scheduled for when I should be studying. I will still have to write that essay instead of sleeping like I so wanted to do. But I am alone I wail into the microphone. I don't live with a man, blah blah blah. I just need to read these words to come to the conclusion that I need to just get over it. And I am not alone. I have God, and really when it comes down to it, my Higher Power usually plans out my day with more Grace than I could ever imagine. And I have a fabulous life. Yes, my garbage is threatening to take over, I am behind in assignments and my teen is wondering if I will ever go to the grocery store again. But when I make a point to align my day with gratitude, remembering that my jumbo sized cup does indeed runneth over, do I have the strength to get up and change the song.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Meditation Rock

Spring break. My days have slowed down. I have now been coming to my meditation rock for the past three days. I sit and shift uncomfortably every few minutes, adjusting my posture, but ultimately succeeding in quieting my mind for brief stretches of time. The to-do list waits at home while I fill my spirit with fuel. Quiet, the only sounds are the birds, breeze and dried grass rustling. Monument Mountain is in the distance. This boulder is a chunk of history. How long has it sat here, on the edge of this pond? How long has it been on this earth? It is covered in lichen and the tiny insects that feed upon that lichen. The sun shines on this rock all afternoon; the shade from nearby pines recedes as noon arrives. My to-do list beckons, but I need this time with God. I need quiet moments when my mind stills and I feel the energy, the vibration of total attention to the present moment. I hold onto this peace until the list and the mind return. I can see the bottom of the pond today, dead leaves decomposing, grass, twigs, a pine cone appear after the ice has melted, it is in the process of receding, thinning each day. The surface of the ice picks up the sunlight and millions of specks of light gleam. A few months ago I skied across this pond and a month from now, my dogs will swim in its depths. Soon the heron will return, dragonflies will hover over cattails and tiny fish will surface to feed on insects. But today I sit here, in peace with God.

After sitting in silence the world that surrounds me fills with sound. The rustling grass is louder, the ice cracks, a leaf skips across the surface of the ice, scraping its edges until it plunges into the water along the shore. Each crow, depending on the distance from where I sit has a different call and the wind blows louder across my ear. Perhaps the first frog, neighbors from across the way, an occasional car, all take on a different quality. Eyes closed, bright orange from the sun which is reflected on the water. After each car passes I feel the urge to retreat further into silence, to go deeper into the woods, to leave behind any human noise. But today I am sitting here, on this meditation rock, in between the "silence" of the world and the voices of us. Each passing car pulls me closer to the list, the homework assignments that await. It seems so mundane after my time with the sparkling ice, the dried grasses and crows. But it calls and my God reminds me, gently through the song of the towhee, that this spot is always here. This rock, which has sat here for thousands of years will be here tomorrow.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Radical Self Care

Spring break has arrived and it is time to rest, relax and rejuvenate. That seems an impossible task for me to accomplish as I have a "to do" list a few feet long. Everything that has been left undone since the beginning of the semester is fighting for attention, the taxes, the cleaning, the trip to the dump, and of course getting caught up with school work and spending time with my family and friends. What is left after everything is done is exactly 30 seconds for relaxation, rest and play. Today however I practiced radical (for me anyways) self care. I went and got a massage. Now I know that self care is extremely important. We all read about putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before our babies, but first I must prioritize myself. I must accept the fact that if I practice self care I will be a much nicer human being. Today's massage proved it. I left the office feeling renewed, happy and calm. The world is a much safer place because I took an hour out of my busy week of relaxing to actually slow down and recharge. I am now watching my two Siberian huskies lounging on their dog beds. They know the art of relaxation, they know how to play, to let go and to live in the moment. Gracie, my white girl, knows the feeling of abandoning herself to mud, of delighting in the world and what it has to offer. Tonight maybe I will follow their lead, I will stretch out, relax, and enjoy some moments of peace before my life speeds up again and I surrender to the chaos.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can We Pick Up the Pace?

As a current student I have a Physical Education requirement to fulfill for graduation. Today’s gift is that my options include Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Walking Fido. I decided on Tai Chi this semester, to flesh out my daily meditation practice and bring some peace to my busy day. The class opens with a ten minute relaxation meditation. I chose well. I have gotten to the point where I crave meditation. Last week, a student asked if we could speed up the routine which is meant to be done deliberately, slowly and mindfully. I had to chuckle to myself, because I remember being right where this student was in my early practice, and many times today. It took me months to detox from a busy three job life and get to the point where I could sit with myself in silence. For me, being present was boring (it still can be.) Being present with myself in silence is being in communion with God. Being present with God brings peace. And sometimes peace is just not all that comfortable. In this technological age we are bombarded with advertising, video games, and cell phones. My teenage son reads a book while watching TV and surfing the internet. So I found humor in this young woman's request, and then remembered how I close my heart every time a student walks into the room late and disrupts "my" meditation time. Hopefully someday I will be able to laugh with a student who requests the doors be padlocked shut once class begins.