Monday, June 27, 2011

Weeks 34-38 - Trusting Presence

"Who can predict the wind?" ~Nicolas Cage as David Spritz in the movie The Weather Man

This past month has been a frustrating one, mainly because I have been resisting what is right in front of me -- the weather. It has been an unusually cool, wet, and very long spring to go along with our recent cold, snowy, and very long winter. I've had it in my head ever since March that soon the warmth and the sun will come and then -- and apparently only then -- I will happily get out for walks, get out in the garden, and lounge outside in the afternoons and evenings with a good book as I love to do. I've been watching the weather way too often, taking the forecasts way too seriously, and waiting...and waiting...and waiting for some picture perfect nirvana to appear so I can get on with my life.

Wow. When had I stopped living because of the weather? There's a testament to my own stubbornness if ever there was one. What hubris is it that when the weather differs from what the forecasters say, I feel as if I've been lied to? Betrayed even? Who am I to stop living my life simply because the weather doesn't suit me or isn't what I've been "led" to expect? Am I really taking on Mother Nature here? Holding out until she bends to my will?

My husband and I have been working on a rain garden which, given the amount of actual rain we've had lately, has gone in fits and starts. As I prepared to work on the dry-creek-bed-portion-of-the-program this weekend, the weather was "supposed" to be beautiful. Saturday's "promised" sunshine never appeared and instead was endless clouds and rain. I went to the landscape store for river rock, despite the rain. I figured I'd at least get that done. When I got home, the rain turned light and the area for the creek bed, which runs under a tree, was still relatively dry so I started digging and shaping and building.

As I began my work, I heard the voice in my head cursing the stupid weather-people who can never get it right. "Never! They lie to us again and again. How do they get paid for that?!?" I heard it say how impressive it was that I was out working anyway and shouldn't I get some sort of kudos for my tenacity and my willingness to work under these conditions.

Really? My willingness?!? Oh, what an ego rears its heads at such moments and can carry us away on a litany of self-importance. I tuned in to my thoughts -- really heard them this time -- and I laughed. How could I not? It was this kind of self-talk that I recognized as the source of my discomfort these past weeks as I waited endlessly for the perfect moment, the perfect conditions, the perfect situation to let go of my resistance and start living my life again.

There's a humility that comes in surrendering to the present moment that even after 38 weeks of this meditation project I'm still astounded by. I've been reminding myself that in presence there's no place for forecasters and predicting the future -- the conditions we are living in are whatever they are right now, in this moment. What is, is. If it's raining, the rain will fall. That's all. Until it doesn't...then it won't. It is what it is. Period. Any energy expended expecting it were otherwise is an exercise in crazy-making. Something we humans are so good at.

As I've written so many times in the past eight months, we can continue to wish for things to be different, question "why me?", feel betrayed when things don't go the way we expect, but this only brings suffering and it's completely self-induced. The only thing that matters is what is, right now, in this moment and how we respond to it. How we respond is within our power -- and little else. Hubris, and the chattering of the mind, is a reaction we have when we let the ego take over. But to see the folly of the ego for what it is, to find the laughter in it, we create space that allows us to be present with what we encounter in this moment, no matter what it is. There are no victims here. If we trust presence, rather than trusting ego, our conditions may not be ideal, but we can get out of our heads and accept the freedom -- and responsibility -- of living a life of our own intent.

As I continued work on the rain garden, I recognized the ego and in doing so, moved happily out of my head and into my experience. I was able to take in the singing of the birds, the beauty of the wind rustling the leaves of the tree that sheltered me beneath its branches. The light rain came and it went and still I stayed, hour after hour, crafting and getting lost in my task, lost in the present moment. I was like a kid playing in the sand, creating a fortress with my own two hands and entirely one with what was going on around me, entirely at peace. I belonged, only, it seems, because I was able to let go and simply be with what was...rain and all.

I am humbly reminded that the conditions don't matter -- only the creating, the playing, and the living do. Thank you -- once again -- for the reminder.//