So good to feel this peace, to come back from the edges and settle into this nest. For awhile it will be easy. This life. I’ll glide through the pool in the mornings with no thorny thoughts, laugh with the others in the class, get witty again. I’ll sit with my Skinny Peppermint Mocha and get out of the way as my novel writes itself. I’ll take my therapist’s advice and go back to the Y when I’m done writing, find another class to keep the endorphins flowing.
Now when I come back to the apartment, it welcomes me, feels like home. I putter in my kitchen, throw together soups and sauces full of nutrition. I work on Christmas cards after a long spell of not caring about my art. Sitting Buddha-like at my work table, my fingers remember. I sing along with Annie Lennox and The Dixie Chicks, talk to the boys whenever they wander by between naps, watch magic happen.
In this gentle place, thoughts feel like cashmere. I go to the laundromat and breathe in the clean, warm smell. I open a new book on the brain and make room for Henry, who is just learning to claim space on me. My thoughts echo his purring.
In a minute, I’ll prepare for our meditation group. We’re sharing leadership now, which feels expansive. Like a summer lake gently lapping the shore. My turn today. A piece, I think, from Pema Chodron:
[The paramita] of exertion has a journey quality, a process quality. When we begin to practice exertion, we see that sometimes we can do it and sometimes we can’t. The question becomes, How do we connect with inspiration? How do we connect with the spark and joy that’s available in every moment? Exertion is not like pushing ourselves. It’s not a project to complete or a race we have to win. It’s like waking up on a cold, snowy day in a mountain cabin ready to go for a walk but knowing that first you have to get out of bed and make a fire. You’d rather stay in that cozy bed, but you jump out and make the fire because the brightness of the day in front of you is bigger than staying in bed.
The more we connect with a bigger perspective, the more we connect with energetic joy. Exertion is touching in to our appetite for enlightenment. It allows us to act, to give, to work appreciatively with whatever comes our way.
Meditation allows us to continue this journey. When we sit down to meditate, we can connect with something unconditional—a state of mind, a basic environment that does not grasp or reject anything. Meditation is probably the only activity that doesn’t add anything to the picture. All that is necessary then is to rest undistractedly in the immediate present, in this very instant in time. And if we become drawn away by thoughts, by longings, by hopes and fears, again and again we can return to this present moment. We are here.
I am here.