Swimming

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.

Respect

August 22, 2012

Respect for that which I have no respect, may take me a long way down my spiritual path.

That which I do not respect, is placed somewhere outside of my mind, and therefore out of my conscious experience – excluded.

“Preference” is written all over it. Zen is the art of non-preference.

Embodying that which I do not respect = being whole, being one with all beings. Humility is here. Empathy is here. Compassion is here- in the embodiment of my experience as a whole.

Pain and Life

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!

Breath as Healing Technique

Today as I drew breath down into my belly, it filled up almost all the space inside me, but I paused and then breathed in a little more and my front and back were separated from one another as the space between expanded.  A full breath cycle swept exhale and inhale along the undersides of my rib cage and massaged the tissues in front of my spine.  Breath gently soothed all the tender places inside and alongside my spine, and the lightning strike of disc contacting nerve became more like strong river flowing.  “Breath sweeps mind”, I guess.

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.

Venturing back …

Venturing back to work, cautiously, after a term of disability.  Taking one step at a time, literally, going slowly along with single pointed focus.  Grateful to to the pain that will not allow mindless movement?  I suppose yes.  Most grateful for the practices I have learned to heal myself , including those which teach me to accommodate my experience in every moment, no matter what it is.

For now, I am practicing what I preach, and we will see how that goes.  So far, so good.

Anger

I became so angry yesterday that my heart beat hard in my chest and when relief did not come it moved into the pit of my stomach and beat as a fist.  It was very painful, and the residual chemistry of it awoke me in the night with illness in my stomach, neck and head. 

So I have contemplated what took control, and exerted such power over me that I couldn’t even soothe myself in the moment to prevent the harmful after effects.  My anger arose and I suppressed it, but by what force?  And to what end? 

I have a rich experience with shame and self righteousness, so when I witness them in others, I feel I can’t bear the pain that I know so well. Even if it is another’s pain, it is mine as well.  Unable to find my authentic voice in the moment, and committed to refraining until I do, I am stifled, thus harm is not averted.  I make an attempt or two to voice, but cannot find my reason.  It is hot inside my head.

There is a sword, Manjushri’s sword of wisdom, that slices both ways. If you wield it to cut the head from someone’s  illusion,  be prepared to have the head cut off  your own.  Separation between the two of you is the illusion; the sword’s cut dispels the illusion of duality.  Accuracy is required with a sword.

In the aftermath, compassion,  and mindfulness of the breeze, the orange sunset, the tiredness in my body – gratitude and another turn on the wheel of dharma.

You know the times I love? They are the times, with loved ones, when we put aside our fear together – it  feels so playful.  Really, fear and play don’t happen so well together, do they?  They are not fair to one another.  Fear will always extinguish play, and play will do the same to fear.  But fear, wow, what a powerful influence.  And play, well, it takes a lot of heart.