I’d Rather Go to the Dentist

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017

I haven’t posted in a while. A few people have asked. Thank you!

I’ve been consumed by endings and beginnings. I’ve been moving. And trying to be still. Hoping to feel. But not too much. Trying to find quiet. And stay connected.

I’ve been intent on sailing a steady course; do my work and then step back, like the Tao Te Ching advises. Be open to what unfolds. But, let’s face it, steady is not what our lives are. Repeatedly we are blown off the courses we set. Sometimes you don’t even get to do your work.  You wake up in the quiet morning and the anchor is holding, the north star still visible; but by afternoon the winds have risen and you are cast adrift, every direction fraught.

Most mornings I get to take my dog to Prospect Park.  I don’t always appreciate that. But obviously, for so many reasons, it’s a fortunate thing.  On good days, I leave my phone behind, we explore the path around the lake. We watch it change, birds fly by, we sniff the wind, my mind expands.

 

 

Other days I am overwhelmed; my attention perhaps captured by the litter and the urban stresses on this beautiful space.  My mind contracts around emotions of anger and a feeling of helplessness.   How can we treat this precious resource like a gigantic garbage dump?  Is this Trump’s fault too? Has everything become disposable?

Take a breath. (Don’t forget the exhale part.) Feel your feet on the ground. Gather.

I remember when I first heard the suggestion from a Buddhist teacher to approach each morning as a fresh start; I was thrilled. But it’s a responsibility too.  It means you can’t stay stuck in patterns of blame and regret.  What at first seems like easy going optimism is actually an admonishment, and a reminder to be present, responsible, awake.  I  try.  I do. I experiment with new ways to align my body in yoga practice, as well as new ways to open my heart and mind in the world.

Last weekend for example, I attended a yoga and creativity workshop.  It included visualizations, restorative yoga, and the creation of a vision board collage. Yikes. These are not my usual practices.  Or preferred ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. In fact, my first response when I saw the workshop description was: “I’d rather go to the dentist.”

And yet I went. And enjoyed it all.

For the vision board, we were given a bunch of magazines, markers, stickers and stamps and asked to gather (10 minutes) and assemble (20 minutes) our own personal answers to the question of what we need to live a fulfilled and passionate life. We were encouraged to be spontaneous and not think too much. It turned out to be relaxing and fun to let go of preconceptions, and to make something with my hands rather than my head.

When complete, and posted on the wall for discussion, I judged my collage as a little corny, but then I quickly realized that everyone else’s was too. Because, actually, what we all want IS corny.

I have this one student who, every single time I ask for requests at the beginning of a yoga class, says “World peace.”  I love that.  If I had found that phrase in a magazine, it would definitely have made it to my vision board.  Corny as hell. And completely, heartbreakingly, true.

Wouldn’t you know it, the afternoon of the workshop was extremely windy.  Walking home, I awkwardly  tried to protect my collage creation while also shlepping a bunch of stuff related to this perpetual house move that my life seems to be. I was tired. A dusty gust came along and dislodged the word JOY right off my board; a bright red happy version of the word that I had found in one of the magazines. It flew away and up into the air.  I felt so burdened by everything I was carrying that I considered letting it go.

Instead, I chased it down.

When I finally caught up with it, it was stuck to the damp street and I had to be really patient, and very calm, to carefully pry it off the cement. It all worked out. I got my joy back.

 

“If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?”

~Maha Ghosananda

 

PS: Last week I also dyed my hair platinum blonde. Just because.

 

2 Comments

  1. Love this, as always! Hits the spot. Now, I’m inspired to play Lucinda William’s song, Joy.

    • Thank you for reading Jennifer! Play it! Dance it! See you soon. xo

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