I'm not sure any of this can make sense through the written word...These concepts are so big, that I question even writing about them...
I'm not sure any of this can make sense through the written word, but it seems to come into play with an experience I had that helped me see there is not only no space in between objects, but no time of past, present or future either. These concepts are so big, that I question even writing about them--particularly for a public audience, as they may make no sense at all. It may be one of those things that has to be experienced directly to be fully understood.
I asked myself this recently while traveling in the Sierras. Perched high on majestic slabs of granite overlooking Kirkwood Lake, I couldn't understand why I was still agitated, exhausted and not able to really see the beauty before me. To really drink it in. It just seemed flat, but I didn't know why. Why?
Having Greta, my dog, has brought a lot of joy and connection to my life, but it's also brought a lot of extra tasks and focused attention needed to train and care for her. My life was a lot different when I had Shyla, and, since I got her when she was just a pup, the training happened over many years. The learning curve with Greta has been huge, particularly because she is a rescue and I don't know her history, she has occasional other dog aggression and separation anxiety issues. It has been intense and I don't seem to recognize how much so until we're apart from each other, where I can breathe a bit without having to attend to her.
As I settled into the space and into the inquiry, "What WOULD make this moment sacred?" I began to feel my body actually present on the granite--the hard, rough and rugged texture, the coolness permeating my bottom, the soft, cool breeze sweeping past my skin. The stillness and distant sounds of wind threading through pine needles evoked a familiar sense. I had lived in Tahoe for five years in my early twenties and it was where I discovered my favorite smell (warm pine pitch) and sound (wind wending through conifers).
As the stillness settled in, Greta still sniffing around and familiarizing herself with the territory, my senses heightened and my body began to feel rested--a deep breath released tension in the chest and within minutes it felt like I had taken a nap.
And then it hit me...
As the dust and soot settles from gentle rains and the holidays slowly pass, a return to routine filled with aspirations can seep back into our days.
My inbox is full of last minute invitations to "transform this" and "fix that". To take advantage of "great deals" and "last minute" sales. While all these offers may be excellent opportunities, for some reason, they seem overwhelming this year.
So, this new year, I'm inviting my clients, students and friends to:
Drop all concern with the things you are not (or don't have).
It's not only a good practice that helps rewire the negativity bias in the brain, but it is now part of the training I'm using with my new canine companion, Greta. I'm invited to praise only that behavior I want to see and refrain from negative attention to the behavior I don't want.
Meet Greta. It was almost 3 years to the day of Shylila's passing that we rescued Greta from a Southern California shelter. It's been a huge change full of adjustments, but, as you'll read, she's worth it.
Greta was highly submissive and extremely underweight. She's been a mommy, but now gets to spend time taking good care of herself through healthful eating and lots of exercise. She meets humans easily, will give you her belly in a heartbeat, and enjoys a good soup bone. She immediately laid beside me the first meditation and continues to do so each time. She has some separation anxiety and doggy socialization issues that we're slowly working on, but she's a keeper!
This is the stance I'm taking with myself, too. Regardless of my issues, I'm a keeper. I've gained weight over the past year. (I actually weigh more now than I ever have in my life!) But, on New Year's day, when I heard myself apologizing for my body to Jim, it stopped me in my tracks. Really?!
JoAnn Saccato, MA is a mindfulness teacher, author, life coach, educator, and consultant in Northern California. She is author of Companioning the Sacred Journey and the forthcoming Mindful and Intentional Living: A Path to Peace, Clarity and Freedom