If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. -Amit Ray
An Indian friend told me once that there is great healing power and energy in the sunrise. One should make rising up before the sun a daily ritual in order to receive its special powers.
Even though I do not consider myself much of a morning person, on those days when I find myself up before the sun, I love to listen to the sounds of the birds preparing for their day. It is both relaxing and invigorating to the senses.
The swan is symbolic of love, peace and tranquility. But did you know that it is also symbolic of transformation? Many of us are seeking change in our lives. In the stories we've shared and the struggles we've experienced, there is a common thread: we want to not just live our life, but to truly experience every moment of it.
To tell the truth, this has been a challenging week. I'm still struggling to keep up with the intensity of being mindful while also carrying on business as usual. On the days that I feel that I am not trying hard enough to meditate when stressed, to slow down and savor what I'm eating, and to remember to take a few breaths, I am encouraged by the motivation of each of you. The reality of life is that it can be a challenge on any given day, but what matters most is that we keep moving forward.
About six years ago a guy loaned me a copy of Rhonda Byrne's The Secret and I remember how, at the time, it changed everything I thought I knew about the power of our thoughts. Although disclaimed by some as mere pseudoscience, millions of people connected with the idea that maybe we can "attract" things to us with our thoughts.
Even now I find myself trying to be more cognizant of my thoughts, hoping to bring only positive things my way. If nothing more, The Secret taught me the power of our mind: What we think, we can achieve. What we dream, we can become.
Letting things go
I spent the final weeks leading up to the start of this school year helping a long-time family friend prepare for her estate sale. I am a history buff, so all the hours of condensing historical documents and memorabilia was, looking back on it now, a great experiment on mindfulness.
Alone in an upstairs room of an old general store, I became so enraptured with my project that I lost all sense of outward distractions: scorching heat, an uncomfortable seat, the occasional angry wasp. It was just me living in the moment.
It was during those weeks that I befriended Louise's sister Betty-a devout practitioner of mindfulness and meditation. We shared good memories of the general store that her sister had operated for 50+ years. We talked about our families, and the blessing and burden they can sometimes be.
Betty talked about meditation a lot-her need to find time everyday to practice it, and occasionally about breath. I remembered her sharing the first time she actually "felt" her breath. And how with discipline and focus, it is possible to enter a state of meditation where one is not even distracted by breath at all. It was intriguing.
Betty told me the story about the two monks and a beautiful woman. A story that I enjoyed so much that it became a journal writing prompt for my students. For those of us who struggle with letting things go, this one's for you