Practice First

Standard

I decided to try something different tonight and meditate first.  Often when I come to my blog at the end of the evening, it’s a struggle to just put a few sentences together, and afterwards it’s even more of a struggle to sit still in meditation for thirty minutes, attempting to stay awake.  My body is tired from teaching four yoga classes this weekend, my mind is tired from having little sleep the past six nights. I ended up stopping my meditation early because I was so drowsy I kept losing focus.  I made it through twenty of thirty minutes  though, and that counts for something.

With ten minutes remaining, I opened the laptop and logged in to my blog.  Now here I am.  It seems like the words can flow more easily now that my mind is a little clearer, more spacious.  Even though I felt so drowsy a moment ago, now I feel more alert.  A yoga teacher once said, “Practice, and all else is forthcoming!” I can really feel this now, after making my meditation the priority and attending to it first this evening.  I wanted to save my alertness, the best part of my mind for my practice, and even just twenty minutes have refreshed me somewhat and given me the space to simply be with these words without judgment.

What would happen if I made my practice my priority every evening?  Would my evening posts go more smoothly?  It often feels like I’m struggling to find the right word, but having come from meditation, I sense that there is no right word or wrong word, there are just words, and they point to the essence, the underlying unity of all things.

There is snow in the forecast, and lots of it.  My daughter’s preschool has already been canceled for tomorrow, and I most likely won’t be going in to teach my Monday morning yoga class.  This means I will have a rare, cozy day to spend inside with my family, and right now, this inclement weather seems to be a very precious gift.

As I look forward into the month, I will be spending some time exploring the third step of the Twelve Steps of AA.  The third step is all about turning one’s life and affairs over to the will of God as we understand God. Since I read about this, I’ve thought so much about how much I try to control in my life, and how fruitless and painful this delusional struggle for control can be.  Giving up this illusion, I find the clarity to see my life as it is now, and I have a receptive, open mind that can be led to make decisions for the greatest good of all concerned.

Just for the heck of it, I began today with this idea of “turning it over” to God.  I found myself getting frustrated with other drivers on the road who were pulling dangerous moves, not using their turn signals, dawdling at green lights because they were on their phones.  As I saw myself growing increasingly frustrated, I reminded myself that peace is in this moment, only in this one moment.

I began to say out loud to God, “I turn my anger, rage, resentment, irritation, impatience, and anxiety over to you.  I don’t know how to handle this on my own.  I put this in your hands, that you may show me the way to peace.” I breathed deeply.  I had to keep turning my road rage over to God, because the other drivers kept giving me opportunities to feel irritated, frustrated, annoyed…oh the unsavory words escaping from my mouth!

Then, in the next moment, “God, I turn this anger over to you. I trust that your power will help me to heal. I have tried everything I know how to do, and still I am angry.  Still I react with impatience. God, please show me how to live in alignment with your light and love.”

I turned my marriage, my family, my parenting, my friendships, my work, my creativity, my body, and my mind over to God today.  Every time I felt worried or irked about something, I would turn whatever it was over to God.  The newness of this felt refreshing; it introduced a quality of lightness into the moments where I was challenged by my own negative thinking.  I’m so often trying to mold situations to my liking, and the internal pressure that builds as I push against the things I don’t want becomes profoundly uncomfortable, dark, thick, heavy.  To feel even a little lightness began to ease the pressure I have placed on myself to get it right.  So I kept turning things over, practicing a willingness to let go, if only for a second.  I sense that right now I’m mostly intellectualizing this giving up of control, but over time, with earnest effort, I might actually experience what it is to set down the illusion of control and allow God to show me the way.  I look forward to this grace.

Time for bed.  This mama is tired!

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