Mindfulness meditation and yoga have both given me lots of practice at slowing down and paying attention to the effects of being too busy, in a hurry, and striving too hard. These mindfulness practices have also given me tools for shifting my relationship to the present moment so that I can include within it the delays, setbacks, challenges, and agendas of other people that I come in contact with. It takes a lot of patience and humor to understand and accept that life isn’t set up to meet what I consider my needs from moment to moment. Yes, life is unfolding on a much grander scale than that.
However, even after years of practice, people that know me would probably not list “patience” as my top quality. I’m a high energy, get-it-done kind of gal. And, being that way has given me many rewards. I get a lot done and fast. However, being this way can get in the way of many things such as creating collaborative, loving interactions with other people. Yes, if you’re not careful, speeding head first into life has its consequences including accidentally stepping on other people’s toes and feelings.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to feel “my full speed ahead” nature run up against the reality of life as it was unfolding at the beginning of an online meeting I was attending. There had been some technical and people difficulties in using the online platform during two meetings in a row and I could feel my energy (i.e. impatience) rising. One of the techniques I use when I feel this way is to not say anything. This technique can be extremely important and save you feeling terrible later followed by an apology to the injured party. I wrote WAIT on a piece of paper next to my computer. WAIT is an acronym which means “Why Am I Talking?” It is a great reminder if you tend to jump in too fast and talk too much.
Then, because this was a meeting of mindful professionals, we have the custom of starting our meeting with a meditation. Oh, glory be!! This is what really saved me. One of the members of the board led a beautiful meditation which focused on becoming present, sending compassion to all beings, and offering our time together to the alleviation of suffering. In the five minutes of being led out of my head and into my heart, I completely felt my impatience dissipate and my heart open with kindness and love. The shift from bodily tension to relaxation and softening was truly palpable. By the time I opened my eyes, there was no hint of impatience remaining.
The next day I relayed this story to my yoga class and read them the poem called “Being Home” by Danna Faulds from her book, One Soul: More Poems from the Heart of Yoga.
“Where can I soften in this posture? Where is the edge between opening and force, the line between stretch and too much effort? The mind and body serve up a feast of feelings, each breath another chance to deepen and release. The smallest motion, or even just a quiet sigh could be all that I require to shift my focus from the outer to the inner realm, a change from being lost to being home.”
It occurred to me that these instructions for yoga are really instructions for life. Where can we soften? How do we find the place between striving and stopping? How can we use our breath to relax and soften into life just as it is? Maybe it’s a sigh or maybe it’s a five-minute meditation that’s required and it can mean the difference from being lost to being home.
If you would like to go from “being lost” to “being home” more often, perhaps you would like to join me in learning more about yoga and mindfulness. The Eat for Life program is starting in September and is a great place to drop into a place of peace with food and your body. I’m also leading a retreat to Costa Rica in February 2019 called Celebrate Life! A Kripalu Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat. Or you can take advantage of the meditations and yoga on my website.
Soften into your day and move into your heart!