Good Tuesday morning to everyone from our Little House in the Big Woods, one-quarter mile from the lapping waves of Lake Superior. The autumn colorful show ends quietly; a few green and yellow and red leaves still flap on branches, awaiting the next wind.
I, too, am feeling so quiet lately.
Whenever a creative outburst of possibility flares in the thoughts, I smile and gently say, “No.” Not yet. Now is now the time for big outward movements. Now is the time for inner nurturing.
You’ve all heard of the Yin/Yang circle of life, yes?
In Asian philosophy, Yin Yang suggests how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.
The circles describe the energies of life: how they rise, how they fall. You can envision that all things we usually think of as opposites (day/night, summer/winter, happy/sad and three thousand other examples) are really just two sides of the same coin, dancing eternally together.
In reality, we often forget this. Thus, we perhaps think that we should always be “doing” something, instead of celebrating the other half of the circle which is “being”. We imagine we should always be creating, instead of nurturing the silence out of which true creation arises.
Our human brains sometimes seem programmed to think in black and white, for easier processing. Yet we all know that life shimmers in rainbow colors (not just shades of gray) and that so many movements that perhaps we reject in our daily life might serve to balance and heal us.
I’m in my quiet phase. The dark of the circle. The creative talker may not monopolize the day. The quieter reflective one arises and moves with her own rhythm. The creative talker may join a neighbor for lunch so she is not left feeling too ostracized.
I have been quite content this past week. Even though the thoughts/feelings may protest, have been doing yoga regularly. Three to four times a week. I do slow yoga. You know how slow? You time your movements with your breath, and if you are breathing very deeply and quietly, a single movement may last a half-minute. The Sun Salutation can go on until sunset. (Just kidding!) But it can last a while. That’s why you have to do part of your yoga routine and then eat breakfast. Then go back and do another segment. You can be in your pajamas until noon.
Breakfast this morning: leftover long-grain brown rice heated just slightly. Topped with chopped apples, almonds, and a sprinkle of coconut. I have always had a tendency to eat fast. Last week, I noticed how the spoon enters the mouth filled with delicious food and then scoops up another spoonful before the teeth have time to chew. So I have been insisting that the spoon wait until the food is thoroughly enjoyed before seeking the next bite. Not only does the stomach appreciate this, mealtimes seem more lovely. Do try it if you’re a fast eater, too.
As many of you know, I have been meditating since 2003. Learning to slow down and be present in the moment. It was mostly book-learnin’ until maybe eighteen months ago when I met an honest-to-goodness meditation teacher and was given some good advice.
It has been very hard to focus attention on the breath, to stay with the breath, to be utterly present to the breath. Every bone in my body (along with some atoms) staged rebellion. The local Anishinabe (Ojibway) called me Rainbow Eagle Woman. (Naquobmigesiquay.) My tendency is to fly way up high in the sky, viewing the largest possible view.
The breath seemed the opposite of the largest possible view. The eagle comes from the eastern direction. The small animals–chipmunks, mice, insects, squirrels–are represented by the southern direction, a view which encompasses the immediate, the right-here-now, the little details.
Only recently, after all these years, am I able to be present enough to the breath to allow it to change this life, to transform it.
I recommend meditation as a path to gaining more insight, peace, and joy. (Although, be forewarned, it is also a path destined to wash away although that is no longer needed, all that prevents us from being fully and totally ourselves. Therefore, it is not always FUN. Sometimes moving through our personal debris can be very painful. But the fruits of insight, peace and joy and equanimity will grow.)
Equanimity brings us back to that Yin/Yang circle. It is the ability to be with what arises without going absolutely crazy, following our million & one thoughts and feelings and habits all the way to China and back in one half hour.
From the slowness of this northwoods day, to your own day in the circle of life, I wish you your deep heart’s greatest desire.
Until the circle of life brings us back together once again…