Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weeks 26 & 27 - Peaceful Mind

Spring has most definitely sprung, although I guess you wouldn't know it with an April snow predicted this weekend. But alas, such is Spring in Minnesota! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, sunny and pushing 70. The tulips have breached their soil ceiling, the maples are sprouting seeds. After weeks of itching to get outside and plunge my hands into the dirt, my prayers have finally been answered. And to my wonder and amazement, my life in the garden has been significantly altered.

Let me back up a moment and describe for you the way it normally goes. Normally, I get home from work after a drive that I don't remember because my mind is completely occupied by prioritizing the numerous things I want to get done in the yard and garden today. After letting Trooper out, I flounder for a while wondering what I can wear that I don't mind getting dirty, while I'm mentally planning out what tools I need so I can try to get everything together and not have to make a thousand trips to the garage. By the time I get outside, an hour has gone by and I start to feel anxious about the fact that the sun has moved behind a cloud and how little I fear I'll be able to get done compared to what I expect to get done. Once I start weeding or planting or whatever it is I end up doing, my mind is off rehashing my day at work or wondering what we're going to have for dinner, or.... Well, it's not pretty, but you get the picture.

And now as for my wonder and amazement: I pull in the garage after a perfectly peaceful drive home, let Trooper out, notice a weed in the garden and end up with my hands in the dirt. I putz along for as long as feels right, taking in the sun and the breeze, the chattering of squirrels and singing of the birds. All along, my mind is a sweet, complete and delicious blank.

Makes me want to take a deep breath, just to write it. Everybody now..."ahhhhhhhhh".

Now that's what connection is all about. I've heard about it, I've certainly written about it, but I wonder if and for how long I have actually experienced it. Until now. I no longer worry about the clothes (my jeans can be washed) or the list of what needs to be done (whatever presents itself in the moment is what needs to be done) or which tools I have (if I'm missing something, it's a nice excuse for a walk).

And that, I guess, is the key: I no longer worry.

Nor do I fuss. Nor do I try so hard. Now, it isn't an always...I am a work-in-progress, after all. But somewhere along the line I find I've stopped having to think everything through or plan everything to a T. I no longer feel the need to nail everything down. Now and again I still find myself jotting down a list of to-do's, but it's mainly now about making space than it is about making sure I don't forget. If I forget, maybe it wasn't so important in the first place. I now allow room for that possibility.

If I had to put a name on it, I guess I'd have to say I'm trusting more. Whatever arrives is what's required -- no matter what that something is. If I missed the sun and rain has taken its place, what can I do? It is what it is. Maybe today was meant for reading a book instead. Honestly, this never used to occur to me -- if I had an agenda, come hell or high water, things needed to get done. Don't get me wrong...I'd read my book, but with guilt cozying in along next to me. The jeans I crawled around in the other day, which happen to be my favorites, now have stained knees...which only means it's time I really learned how to treat mud stains more effectively. When I feel like being done for the day -- especially when my back tells me so -- I'm done. No guilt, no frenzy because something didn't get done. Tomorrow is another day.

I can't help but wonder -- was I really this bad? Who knows...maybe only in my mind. Which seems to be the point -- meditation is essentially about learning to work with the ramblings of the mind. Not to fight them, not to control them, but to work with them. When it has a mind of its own (pun intended), the mind is impossible to live with. When it learns to relax, when it's willing to take a break now and then, when it's willing to work in service of me rather than against me, it's not so bad to be around. Lately, it's not so bad to be around. Clearly, this meditation thing is paying off.

This may not sound like the first moon landing to anyone, but this is mind-blowing (pun not intended, but it works...) for me. Without all the mindless mental gymnastics, I can hear my body when it's talking to me, I can be a part of my surroundings, I can participate in the moment, I can listen to my heart. And I can respond. Not react, but thoughtfully and purposely respond.

My mind has become a peaceful place -- I've never known such beauty in the world. There is gratitude here I can scarcely describe.

I finally feel as though I've crawled out from under my own thumb. I feel like I get to live again, but the funny thing is, I never even knew I was dead. Maybe that's a little drastic. Perhaps I was merely hibernating. Perhaps the true me was like the flowers and the trees that are once again coming alive, to fully embrace a new cycle of this Life.

So the question begs, what will this new season be like?//

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