I woke up this morning and asked myself, who do I want "to be" today? My first reflection was to be loving, my second was to just keep it together. My pile of to dos is two pages long, but at least for now they are on a piece of paper rather than spinning around in my head.
But to truly ask myself who do I want "to be" today, I needed to touch into the places inside myself that are either lurking in shadows, or are desperately clawing for attention.
My meditation cushion calls me. I am grateful for it, at this point immeasurably.
I sit. First, bowing to my ancestors, then to my teachers, then to myself, this self that has been with me for 51 years but who I am just beginning to know.
I have been many things in this life, dancer, photographer, horseback rider, actress, puppeteer, traveler, teacher, mother and wife, and now for the past ten years I have studied and explored within myself what it means to be a human from the inside out. This path has taken to me to the most simple and yet most profound action of my life.
To Stop. To stop and sit on a daily basis and let go of even the processes of thinking, planning, musing, inventing, imagining, designing and ultimately controlling my life with my mind. I have discovered that my mind is tired and ready for this rest.
When I sit and ring the bell, and light the candle, and take in and let out three deep breaths, I am letting my mind know that now is the time for rest, and it no longer has to work to keep me safe, mull over the terror of doing something wrong, obsess about old family issues, or plan the next meal. Now my mind can be in service to my heart and body. I ask it to notice this moment.
What is in this moment? My breath and the ocean like flow of its expression and my body and the myriad calls its making about how it feels to be still and suddenly get some attention. I say to my mind, let's listen. My heart soon starts to share and often unburdens a longing, a grief, or a joy, or elicits from me an immense sigh. Then there is more space, and the sounds of the day break into my consciousness. The birds, the wind, the cars going by, the rustle of my sleeping child.
I feel awake, as if out of a dream, and my being is vibrating with the life that it is, that is right now, nowhere to go, nothing to do.
Now here is the miracle, I feel love, My heart feels big and full in my chest. My body is vibrating with love. I am in awe of the sheer magnitude of this life that has been given to me. Then my sit is over. I ring the bell again, my mind gets back on line for business.
Now my heart is in the lead. It may lead me to things harder and more complex than I have ever wanted to face, but it does not require of me anything more than full, relaxed, mindful attention.
This is who I want "to be" today.