My wonderful friend Kim recently asked me to submit an entry for her zine, Toil. I’m still not certain which path I’ll take for my article, but the theme? Starting Over. Easy. And at the same time, oh so difficult. We start over every day, every year, every month, every moment–if we’re good at it. If we’re great at non-attachment, each moment is fresh and new, and we come to it Open and Present. Often waaaay easier than it sounds. And that’s my, as they say, Learning Edge. I think of it as Dropping Everything: as in true Buddhist form, to feel everything, be fully aware each moment, and let it run though me like a river, continually flowing without snagging. I’m not positive this is really attainable as a long-term psychological state, given these brains we’ve got, but I hope so, and it’s certainly my aim. Fortunately, by definition it’s a quest without failure, as even thinking “failure” would be letting the experience snag.
It’s a well-known meditative practice: let go let go let go. Come back to your center. Let go. And I’m learning. It’s a skill that becomes stronger with practice; I still get caught up in little dramas, but over the years I’m becoming better able to catch myself, realize it, and let go. Or at least have that intention. Sometimes my brain just takes over and returns repeatedly to what’s bugging me, and I notice this is worse when I’m not meditating, not taking care of myself in general. The mind starts to dictate in unhealthy whirlpools of thought if not kept in check. And these times are reminders–“Ah! I’m obsessing about this, I need to go to the gym/meditate/eat etc.,” whatever it is I’m neglecting. Usually, doing what will bring me back to health is the LAST thing I WANT to do. Such is the essence of the mind, or at least my mind: it wants to THINK it’s way out of everything. Good luck.
Taking care of the body and the mind allows the Spirit to be Present, rather than overshadowed by physical or psychological pain. One of the many benefits of eating raw vegan is that I find my body exists in a state of ease, without pain, and my mind is clearer–though I’m certainly no guru and am prone to long periods during which I eschew many of my other much-needed self-care practices, and when things generally go south. Sometimes self-care just slips, and taking inventory is required. While it’s simply unrealistic (and flat-out contrary to the nature of Life–all streams teem with rocks, underground debris and eddies) to expect balance at all times, I think it’s safe to say most of us would do well to check in more often with how we’re doing physically and otherwise, and take a time out for whatever is needed at that moment to come back to our grounded centers. Maintenance. Is there a phone call I’ve been putting off? An errand? An apology long overdue? Little things undone can consume more psychological space than just DOING the actual task. Get things done and take care of your body free yourself from these mental and physical time sucks. While the aim is to learn to experience flow no matter what’s going on, all the time, it’s much easier to access this state of being if physical pain and mental obsessions aren’t taking up valuable space. We swim in and out of the current of Flow. Let Go, Drop It, and Peace Out 🙂 Happy Day, peeps.