Sunday, October 30, 2016

Don't Wait. Stay.

What happens when we stop waiting and stay?

We wait when we know something is coming. Looking out of the window as a kid, I would wait for my grandparents' car to pull onto my street. Looking and waiting for them to arrive, I wasn't present in that moment except in my anticipation bordering on agitation to see them, to have their gifts and kisses and rapt attention. But when would they come? What if there was an accident or they were late or stopped for a sandwich?  How long could I suffer anticipation? Until I saw the Oldsmobile pull around the corner, until I was wrapped in their arms. Sigh. I can relax now. 

We are taught to worry, taught to anticipate, so many outcomes to predict that we miss what is happening in front of us.  In life and in practice, what are you waiting for?  What happens to your sense of self if you stop worrying, stop waiting, and stay where you are, stay in that breath, in that moment, in that pose, in the center of your mind, in your experience? 

Worry, anxiety, and fear, my old friends... I was taught by everyone I know how to model my life with your clays.  I was taught that worry is how we show love. Anxiety is what we feel when we look to the future. And fear, well fear is what we see when we look at the past or future. A steady dose of fear for breakfast every day, fear of catching a cold because my hair is wet, fear of dying in  a car crash driving to school or taking the bus, fear for the future world under the next President, fear of going back to a new version of the same unsatisfying past already lived.  No wonder I couldn't breathe. Who could?

Without the past, without the future, stay here in this present, without worry about what is to come, without judgement about what came before.

Instead of waiting, can we stay? Let's hunker down. Find the middle of this moment and stay. Not looking to change the future. Not looking back at missed opportunities, lost moments. Sitting right here in the middle of this word, of this thought, this posture, this conversation, this moment. Can we stay in the discomfort of our impatience as we look forward? And then up the ante and stay in our present and completely skip the anxiety about the unknowns of the mysterious, unpredictable future?  Just have this breath. Fill up. Let it go. Repeat. 

The present is here now. The gift of life is here now. Full stop. 

Can I balance my mind, my breath, my body in a challenging posture and stay in the middle of this experience? Wobbles, discomfort, and all? Can I do this in my life? When life challenges me, can I accept that challenge and sit with the discomfort of it? Without reaction. Without any action. Hold the discomfort. Maybe even welcome it enough to find some ease in it?

Can I stay a little while longer in each moment? Make each breath count. That cliche doesn't sound as cliche to me all the sudden. It's like I heard it for the very first time as I typed the words. I am here in this moment. I am alive.