There is a tendency to become bored swimming laps for some people. I thought I was a little bored yesterday during my swim, when suddenly I realized that my toes were very happy. Far from bored, they were fully alive. My ten toes love swimming.
August 11, 2012
I have written about the pain and hard work of becoming, and I have written a protocol for living with and managing my pain (See Elder Blossoms). What I have not addressed is a much larger dimension of my experience. It is what I do with my time.
Here is the kicker. My current lifestyle is my dream lifestyle, even my plan for retirement. The only part I did not plan or desire is the pain. Yet it seems the pain has forced the lifestyle. I can tell you that my vision of retirement includes the following: working with people and the healing arts twelve or so hours a week, teaching herbal medicine and spending time making herbal medicine, allowing hours each day for athletics and hot tubbing at the gym, receiving massage and chiropractic treatments each week, taking naps, spending quality time with pets and neighbors, eating well, surrounding myself with positive minded folks who like to laugh, meditating as a way of life rather than as an event in the day, moving slowly between activities and keeping everything very simple. Well, I am here to tell you that I have what I have asked for.
Right now I am just listening to my body. Body wisdom rules.
P.S. Earlier pain of 8.5 is down to 4ish and I am sitting to write this post. Yay!
Sometimes I feel my mother. I don’t mean I feel like her. I feel her, in my body. For instance, when I swim. When my body rolls side to side, raising my arms from the water like knife blades to cut the water and push me forward, my mind’s eye sees the graceful arc of her arm and the turn of her body bringing her white rubber swim cap up and down, up and down, the kind with the chin strap. I feel my arms are hers, and I wish I had one of those swim caps.
December 31 2010….wow.
We say, “Where did the time go?” It didn’t go anywhere. It is right here in my mind and body. Time is everything I see, hear, taste, touch and smell. The passing time is my blood and bones, my thoughts and emotions. None of them has gone, yet none of them seems to have come to stay either.
I am happy, being in this stream with all of you, coming together and apart in synchronous synergistic motion, sometimes swimming near the edge, sometimes no ground in sight. I appreciate and thank you for being in my life.
I am in awe of things we share, synergy, healing, birth, death, spirituality, faith, fear, fearlessness, form, formlessness… relationship. It feels truly enlightening to have presence of mind for it, if even for a fleeting moment, and to consider reality without filters of thought and preference. Imagine expanding that moment.
With focus on mindfulness, I have adopted a contemplative disposition toward four specific subjects this semester: Psychology, Human Development, Transitions/Career Development, and Community Development. Thus has been the assignment and the practice in my first semester in the Masters in Contemplative Psychotherapy program at Naropa.
Taking a contemplative view requires a level of stillness pretty much out of synch with the larger world. There are places in the stream where groups of people are practicing stilling their minds. These are little currents of refuge for those who slow down to refresh in them. My 32 fellow students and I have been just such a group, observing our minds and bodies through listening, contemplating and meditating. The many hours of meditation have produced a modest pace of living, conducive to contemplation. I am watching the busy-ness of life, more than identifying with it.
Maitri is an essential element in contemplative practice. Maitri (friendliness to our own experience, kindness to self and others, loving kindness, compassion) is both a cause and an effect in a contemplative lifestyle. Contemplate the real realities of birth, death, your identity, where you came from and where you will go, and you will surely choose compassion for yourself and others, finding it the only path to liberation. Take a step beyond attachment, aversion and indifference and find treasure on the other side. Then see no step is required and no other side. Meditation and contemplation are exceedingly valuable to an intelligent society.
While I have moved into my new life in Colorado, my sons, Zac and Hannes, have maintained the harmony in Harmony House, making my brief Christmas visit there a joy. Supported by their love and that of friends, cats and dogs, and sangha at the Clear Mind Zen Temple, I returned to Colorado for my second semester (and our first big snow!). January 11 will find me beginning a second two week retreat at Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center.
With maitri I wish each and every one of you and your loved ones long days of love and bliss, enough to take you through times of grief and pain, joy and sadness that ring deep and clear, strong healing bodies and love beyond words.
A deep bow, hugs and kisses, and
Happy New Year 2011!
Judy K Harmon – Peace!
September 2010 – Maitri Retreat, Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado
October 4 2010 – 60th Birthday!! We danced of course. I bought myself a piano for my birthday. At the party, the guys moved it upstairs. Now that’s friendship 🙂
December 2010 – Harmony House visit and first big snow in Colorado
My thoughts today have run something like this: Synchronicity seems to be losing its meaning as the word so describes the continuous moments in time! Kind of like when you say a word real fast over and over and then it is meaningless in your mind?. Have you ever tried that? Materialism simply demonstrates the mastery of living in sync. When in sync, that which materializes is that which we project. Suffering results when we think external forces are causinge the manifestations in our lives. Waking up means waking up to this. Now the question – in sync with what? Oh! I just remembered – the present moment!
A call arose in the heart. Heeded, the call became a sign pointing toward a path.
Following the path, wind swept, thunder crashed, rain drenched.
Shadow and light alternately claimed the same spaces.
Clarity came in the morning, fog lifted, illusion dissolved.
We had waited, struggling but sure.
Sacrifice made sacred the journey.
My sister says brave. I say fearless.
Fearless, I trust in something unseen but not unknown.
I am not brave enough to do otherwise.
Fearless, my sister and I.