This morning things seemed to edge into a familiar groove. E. is home again, and Leonard stuck his cold nose in my face just before the clock went off. Dog bladders make the most urgent alarm clocks.
I let Leonard out to pee,
E. and I pull on wool clothes and running shoes and head to the lake where our clocks are synced up again with the crows’ morning congregation. So loud and so lovely this morning. Lovely in its own way. Earnest chatter. Energetic and contagious. My legs lose a little of their heaviness.
The lake has spilled over its banks, but is still now. And dark. A duck laughs.
We passed a man in his mid 70s. A woman somewhat older going in the opposite direction. This means so much to me: this reminder of what the path of the fortunate looks like.
After the run, the asana practice. And after the third chaturanga today my left shoulder began complaining again. After meditation and a shower, it started in yet again as I combed my hair. Loudly and unlovely.
I’m realizing that this is a conversation I will be mediating between my body and my id for the rest of my life. It’s weirdly like negotiating with children. Is this unpleasant feeling really “pain”? Or is it just a yellow flag: Be aware.
Every Sunday morning I sat 65 minutes on a smooth, cold pew next to Grandma. Pastor Garanger talked and gesticulated, sometimes mumbled with his eyes closed. Sometimes Grandpa’s breath would catch in his throat to jerk him awake.
I sat still.
There was a lesson lost on me. And there was a lesson under that one: the sitting still.
The “stop your twitching”. The “pay attention”.
The “okay now: just go outside and play”.
Maybe nothing is really lost, since the world circles around in its lopsided orbit.
I have an ambivalent relationship to aphorisms. Whether a quote is merely a platitude, or a significant expression of a deeply contemplated experience, all depends on the reader and their current frame of mind.
I have noticed that when I’m scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, and register “platitude after platitude” it’s time for me to take a break from everything electronic – and breathe.
Of course there are plenty of people out there posting motivational quotes because they have something to sell, but it is too easy to dismiss the quotes that are being shared by individuals with nothing to sell, but who have been touched and want to share the thought. The problem is – without the context of that person’s experience, it’s easy for me to skim the surface: “platitude”. In my hurry, I’m inconsiderate, and refuse every earnest attempt at connection. And worse is that I find myself judging those people as shallow.
One part of my daily morning meditation involves water: calming the waves until the surface is reflective… and having the courage to recognize that what I see is a reflection of myself –
here in the shallows.
Slap a famous writer’s name on the end of a quote and you have a context. But often that sense of belonging “in the club” is the only context: I recognize my education. Ego. Smugness. After all, who has time to consider all the potentially earnest missives send via a quote?
I am guessing now that this is where discernment comes in. Another part of my morning meditation. Maybe there is a point in making my world smaller so that there is more time for consideration.
Every fragment of the universe – when contemplated – is a koan.
I think I knew that still at five. Before I thought I had to appear to know everything. (And too often it is possible to fake it until you believe it yourself.)
Maybe there is a point in returning to daily journaling, and giving up the need to be anything but earnest – to be five again in that regard.
I’d quite like that.
We have a responsibility to hold to the power of love that we know to be true, and to not allow the world around us to deaden that in ourselves.