Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Life...

"I want my life to be my calling. I don't want to waste another moment. Every choice, every conversation, every breath. I want them done with awareness. I devote my life to being awake and awakening others."
                                                                               Laurel Schwartz

This has become my mantra. You know that mental loop endlessly repeating itself over and over inside your head. I have had so many different loops during my life and most not particularly helpful or encouraging. But this one is different. This one rings out to every cell of my being. It makes me smile. It reminds me life is perfect in every moment. It brings me into a deep understanding of life and an appreciation of everyone I encounter.

The Buddha said suffering is evitable. It is simply part of the experience of being alive on this earth. There are three kinds of Buddhists: ones that wish to eliminate all suffering and enjoy life; those who want to go beyond the suffering of this world and reach nirvana; and the third group who devote each breath to relieving the suffering of all beings. They understand how interconnected we all are. They know that as long as one being continues to suffer, we all suffer.

I'm not so full of myself to think I've reached this third elevated state, but I do sincerely want to be awake in each moment. More importantly, I want to use every breath, every conversation to offer what I have experienced to others.

Mantras are sacred sounds vibrating in ways that change the structure of your cells. They provide a deep tune-up and help dissolve old patterns of thought and being that no longer serve you. This new mental loop I've been repeating isn't a classic Sanskrit mantra, but I'd like to believe it is my sacred sound carrying me into a place where I can truly serve myself and others.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cherish Ordinary Days...

It has taken a while, but I certainly do know it now- 
the most wonderful gift I had, 
the gift I've finally learned to cherish above all else, 
was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days.           ~Katrina Kenison

Lately I've been struggling with a severe case of plantarfasciitis in 
both feet and tendinitis in my ankle. The doctor said it might take 
six months to heal. I'm faithfully engaging in various stretches 
incorporating them into my daily Yoga practice. I've curtailed my 
walking, apply ice and sometimes heat to tired, sore feet and spend 
more time with my feet up.

More than one friend has suggested the universe might be sending 
a message to slow down. I've certainly received that message before 
and it usually comes more than once (stronger each time) until I 
listen. I'm listening, I promise!

Ordinary days, everyday moments fill our lives in ways that often go
unnoticed. As a longtime meditator, I like to believe I pay attention. 
That I really notice things around me. But the reality is mindfulness 
and being present are lifetime practices. Like chopping wood and
carrying water, we put one foot in front of the other, moment 
after moment and wonder, "can we stay alert, awake, alive to 
all that is?"

It's a practice and each time I miss the mark, I feel gratitude for 
the chance to try again. Don't be discouraged if you are forgetful or 
thoughts take you away from what is here in the present moment. 
Just allow the realization of not being present to be a pointer back 
to presence. Remember even our forgetting is perfect. Let go of all
expectations and appreciate the gift of ordinary days.