I've had a busy day today, but running in-between the raindrops while running errands hasn't taken the shine off of all I've accomplished. I read an interview with a songwriter who said one of the happiest moments of his work is in the day after he finishes a song, even more so when the album is complete. Yesterday I passed the 100 page mark on a manuscript I've been struggling with for months and for the first time, can feel the momentum building. It's exhilarating and that energy and joy has flowed into this day, this moment.
And that's always where the real power lies.
"Be here now" is a phrase we may often hear, but what does it feel like to be fully present? Can we be aware of how much of our mind/body/spirit wants to stay trapped in the past or wander into an unknown future? I begin every yoga class guiding my students through an awareness exercise that allows each person to tap into that question. Our bodies represent the past, so every experience we have had is stored in our cell tissue. The mind represents the future, for what we think and believe, we become. Since the moment of our birth, the breath has been the one, true constant in our being, so it represents the present moment. I often remind my students that the main purpose of practicing asanas (poses) is to free up the body so the breath can be more open and dynamic and we can become more present not only on the mat, but off of it as well.
I've spend two decades working with healing modalities of all types: talk therapy, massage, meditation, chakras, Native Amercian studies, and acupuncture. I've discovered that each one has allowed me to be more in the present moment. But perhaps the most compelling avenue toward healing has been my experience on the Rolfing table. For fifteen years, my friend, Tony, and I meet annually for an adventure into the unknown that indelibly changes my perception of the past, integrating it in the present and often slingshots me into the future with a greater sense of determination. This afternoon I finished an advanced three series and, as always, left Tony's office feeling more whole and complete. I've come a long, long way since my original series in 1998. Yes, I used to be a piece of work, but now I'm more than delighted to work for peace...within myself and to help others discover that which is always accessible, if we truly want to experience it.
Writing in the midst of teaching yoga and doing my own healing work has been instrumental in helping me strip off the layers of the past, those places, people and circumstances that taught me many things, but are no longer in my life now. My mind used to loved to dance around in memories, replaying them over and over again until I was dizzy from the dervish. Then it would change gears and spin out into the future, wondering and hoping and also dreading what might come so much so that I was tangled up in knots.
Putting words on paper (or on the computer screen) allows me to find my authentic place of power and purpose, to release both the past and the future so that I can stand in this moment and allow emotions or experiences to come forth in order to be recognized and integrated. Staying present isn't easy. We can be overwhelmed in the swirl of others' opinions and actions. But the more we know ourselves and truly understand that which lies deep within, the more we can be open to what is happening in our lives -- moment by moment.
It's an incredibly heart-opening experience to write a memoir and I've often said that everyone in their mid-forties could benefit from more than a glace backwards into the choices they have made over the years. In sifting through my own, I've seen patterns that no longer serve me, behaviors I want to change, feelings I want to follow. Every day when I sit down to write, some memory bubbles up and surprises me with its clarity and tenacity to be explored. I've laughed out loud and cried tears of mourning over the things I've seen and heard, done and not done, imagined and experienced. I only hope that when I reach the end of the manuscript, the past forty-six years will dissolve and I'll be on my way to an ever-expanding, creative life.
Nature reminds me not to rush, that there's a time and place for everything. This rainy summer is very different than last year when the
Midwest was overcome with intense heat and
drought. I spent most of May, June, and July
trapped inside the house, longing to tend my flowers. Now it's sprinkling outside my window and
when I gaze at the green grass and lush flowers blooming everywhere, I stop and
notice the appreciation I feel for the gardens that have been nearly effortless
this time around. I feel the power in
the rainfall to feed the earth and bring tranquility to this evening. I feel the peace that surrounds and dwells within me.
May you all be just as you are in this moment and be at peace.