It's amazing how quickly the mind can forget profound truths. Particularly those that are discovered in exhaustion and under stress. Like the wind that blew through our camp, this attitude and outlook upon the situation drifted out of my mind upon waking in the morning. My mind resorted to trying to figure out all the differing scenarios of possibility.
I had been homeless before upon the ending of a 13 year relationship. Shyla and I spent a year in a tent on a friend's property--it was one of the best experiences of healing and perfect opportunity for connecting more deeply to the Tao of existence. It also was the stepping stone to my living in the cabin for all those years. Was this a bad thing? Quite the contrary! Not anything that I would have specifically chosen for myself, but so deeply grateful the situation presented itself and circumstances were as they were where I had to live there long enough to find the depth of beauty and aliveness that held me there for over 10 years.
Is this the fate that was in store for me again? After three years of setting up home on Cobb, was it all to be gone?
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?!
The good thing about camping during the period of not knowing what was happening with the #ValleyFire was that we were kept busy enough with just the basics of living. Sarah and Julie were able to find a sweet, rocky spring fed creek a brief distance from camp while my friend and I rested and set up our tents.
I revealed a perfectly ripe peach that had been sequestered in the dark, protected regions of my sturdy (and heavy!) bear canister. I sliced up the fresh treasure and shared it out, each of us taking delight in the refreshingly moist, cool peachy experience, particularly delicious because of dry conditions at our camp spot, despite being just above the shoreline of the Pacific.
We made a trip back to the spring before sunset, resting our tired feet in the cool running water.
By the time dinner was over I was ready for bed--my body completely exhausted. But my mind was reeling. I hadn't even finished processing the loss of the cabin from the #RockyFire and was still working on the blog recounting that unexpected and profound experience.
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 Mindful and Intentional Living: A Path to Peace, Clarity and Freedom