It's warm here
Breath against the nostrils
Rise and fall of the chest
Soft belly tensing less
Against the world
One hand holding the other
Wise whisper from within
It's hard to be present when the past haunts you or the future predicts disaster. Clouds veiling mountains in mystery and majesty are missed because of the mush inside your head. The soft whisper from within beckoning you to stay in this meditative moment is muted by the loud voices urging you to complete the do list or replay old scenes in movie mind a thousand times till you get it right.
Formal meditation practices are wonderful in giving your spinning mind some training wheels to pedal back to the present each time it leaves, to notice the direction the wheels turn, to hear the sound of their spinning. But formal meditation practice may not be your cup of tea.
If not, you can notice your connection to the ground when you walk from one place to another, the way your body moves with each step. You can taste the bitter sweetness of the next dark chocolate square, or the tartness of the next raspberry you blissfully bite into. You can hear all the instruments and vocal highs and lows of your favorite song. The five senses are a great gateway to this place called Here when you are tempted to engage elsewhere.
It's important to practice mindfulness when you are relatively calm. This helps to strengthen the muscle memory for ways to return to the arms of Loving Presence when you are stressed. But please don't turn this into another self-improvement project. Heaven knows we already have enough of those painfully embedded into our psyches!
A new definition of mindfulness is emerging for me. In addition to paying attention to my present moment experience with kindness, I must also gently release where I have been. To do this, I need to trust that there is something larger than the wild stories of past failures and a future apocalypse. Something that will hold me here like gravity, something that will instill a deep oak like trust that I won't easily be uprooted with the next storm. And if I am uprooted, I can lay my body down on Mother Earth to rest, standing only when I am ready to try again.
Whether you call your practice of preference mindfulness, prayer, or sacred presence, may the soft whisper from within beckon you to stay. May you trust this moment’s design above all else before the next kaleidoscope turn or events. This pattern is potent, precious. It holds your freedom, your happiness, your love.
Will you stay?