Being Present

Fully Present
Fully Present

The bright morning light is streaming through the eastern facing front of the studio.  I don't even need to have the lights on.  The studio is clean warm and inviting, and I'm getting ready to teach one of my favorite classes of the week (sunday morning power flow).  I'm too early as always, I'm never perfectly on time, always too early.  I've had my coffee and my breakfast, I'm prepared for the class to come, but I'm nervous (yes, I still get nervous to teach).  Life has taken an interesting turn these days and I'm having a hard time dealing with the uncertainty.  But is anything ever certain?  Probably not, but I like the facade of certainty.  I'm uncomfortable with ambiguity and I don't like to play the waiting game with anything.

Present like a pony tail palm
Present like a pony tail palm

What do you do with uncertainty that looks you in the face and asks "How are you going to move forward this time?"

To the uncertainty I say, "This time I've learned I need to sit back.  Sit my butt down on a cushion, close my eyes and watch my breath".  So that is what I do now, I know It won't help to be consumed by anxiety, it won't help to become an emotional train wreck.  You have to sit and watch your breath and notice the patterns of thinking that come up in the mind.  That is how you move forward, you move forward by surrendering to what is.  I know this to be true.  I also realize that all of this is easier said then done.  By telling you, I'm trying to re-enforce that what I did, the sitting, the being present was the best choice, to continue to remember to practice it myself, but also to show you why it might work for you too.

The sitting, keeps the anxiety at bay for awhile, but sometimes you need something else.

Later in the afternoon my yoga teacher alliance (or something along those lines) investigated the Niyamas.  Cleanliness, contentment, tapas, Self-study (I forgot to have us talk about the 5th Niyama, devotion to god! Whoops! Talk about an oversight).   Within the context of the Niyama's and the Yama's, meditation, and yoga I realize that for me  there is nothing more interesting than my own mind, and by trying to be a more present person I become a better friend, a better member of the community, a better pet owner, and the list goes on.  Self-study, contentment, enthusiasm, and  cleanliness (Yes, I'm still leaving out devotion to God, I'm not ready to explore that topic in depth on this blog) they aren't just the Niyama's they really do make you a better contributing member of society.

I remind myself of that when later in the day I start to feel like I'm going half crazy...

I have a thought, I wonder "how many times do I need to hit bottom before I'll float" with this thought I know I need to do something else. Something that is slightly close to a sitting practice, but maybe a bit more active.

Those times when I really want to scream and cry, you know, throw a full blown fit like a spoiled child, have you felt that way?  Have you ever in your adult life wanted to throw a full on tantrum?  I have, I know it's silly, it won't get me anywhere, but it would spend the restless energy coursing through my body.  It's in moments like that when I try to remember I can just go for a hike.  Never mind that I did a long, long bike ride on untrained legs yesterday, never mind that I taught a hard power flow class just this morning. I know a hike will do me more good than consuming myself with social media, drowning myself in food, drink or conversation.

IMG_0800
IMG_0800

I could feel that nervous energy of change creeping up into my neck.  Off I went for a hike by the lake, a hike when the pollen was thick in the sky and the green hugh hangs in the air and I need a benadryl just to leave the house, no never mind that , I just need to move.  Just like a seated meditation I find the rhyme of my breath with each step, but instead of leaving my focus there, I focus on the ground beneath me and my feat propelling me forward.  I focus now on the moment too, just like I do when I sit on my cushion for a seated mediation.  The only difference is now my focus is on moving forward without tripping over my own two feet (which I've been known to do more often than not).  Isn't that a metaphor for life?  How can you stay fully present, don't dwell  on the past don't worry about the future, just find happiness in the present moment despite the hot air, the clouds in the sky, the pollen clogging your lungs and the possibly of tripping?

I notice the squirels jumping around the woods teasing me like the distracting thoughts that race into my mind.  I notice the birds in the trees, the hum of a bee or could that have been a horse fly.  I notice the sounds of the mountain bikers on the trail not far off.  I notice, but for once I don't get caught up in the thoughts I'm just present, that tightness in my throat has disappeared.  It will be back, life is full of moments that make you want to scream, moments that make you feel like you've lost your grip on reality, moments of wanting to shake sense into people, but I have the tools to deal with it.  Not just deal with it, but to be fully present .  This yogic path really can help.

That's how you deal with change. that's how you deal with ambiguity, with emptiness, and even if it doesn't feel ok, it is, I promise. Just breath.