What an exquisite November day — hard frost, pure blue sky, the last gold-yellow leaves hanging on in crisp wind. Long angled sun, glinting; long dark shadows…. Pause, look, appreciate, breathe. Ahhh….
Rosa says: I think maybe the mindfulness practices are making a difference. Yesterday I did not rise up and yell at Parker, the mean and demanding son-in-law. I just calmly answered his question and got off the phone. And with Jerry (the demanding absent-minded husband), I found myself taking a long slow breath before responding. It was the fifth time he asked me the same question!
Rosa leans back, then admits: But I really am impatient with the practices. My mind wanders. It takes too much time. I’d rather be ____________ (doing almost anything else).
Rosa signed up for the mindfulness class to help her with her night bingeing and lifetime of depression and low self-esteem. The practices are hard for her to do. Why should she? What really is the connection between 1/2 hour of some calming and centering practice, and being less reactive in relationships, including the relationship with food and feelings?
Hang out with a baby or a little kid, and watch how their attention bounces from red toy to your silver eyeglasses to light playing on the floor. Bouncebouncebounce. Bouncebounce. Sense impressions — sights, noises, sensations, tastes, smells — OOeeee! The world is Juicy!
We grownups have at least learned to sit down and read a page of something, to keep our eyes somewhat focused on someone who is speaking to us. Or have we? Out attention bounces too — try to sit still without moving anything other than your breathing for 5 minutes. And if the idea frightens you, wonder why.
What’s going on for most of us most of the time is Bouncing. Flitting. Bounding. Our animal bodymind is hardwired to use our senses to detect what we want to grasp (safety, food, shelter) and what we need to reject (danger). Our senses are busy!
Human beings have evolved: we are learning, miraculously, to be able to witness the reactions of our senses to things, and restrain (sometimes!) from just acting out our impulses.
It is definitely a higher state of evolution than the baby or the cat. And the baby and the cat inside us want to do anything but sit still, breathe and listen.
Back to Rosa. What courage it takes to just stick it out, keep her commitment to daily practice, and allow the questions to bubble up for examination. Is this really helping me? How?
Those of us who do have a daily practice (meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, etc) are not exactly saints you know. Nor are we wizards who have figured out how to manifest more time in the 24-hour day.
My experience is that we keep coming back to the practice out of a clear seeing that it truly does make a Big Difference, in this one day, and over the months and years. Less Reactivity, More Kindness to Self and Others. Clearer Sense of Real Priorities — in life, and in this one day. Welcome Insights.
And for people who are hooked into repetitive self-destructive behaviors, the ability to Pause, to ride out the Urge, to hold one’s seat and breathe.
And for me, today, more space to appreciate right now the violet sky of the beginning of sunset on a beautiful day.
Take good care, Anya