A monarch in the meadowPosted: September 14, 2012
stands for all things
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow
of the flower,
and retell it in words and in touch,
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.
~ Galway Kinnell
I’ve posted this poem sometime in the past (it seems like long ago), and it came to mind this morning as I was pondering “what next?”
In about eight days I will have finished my year-long yoga and pescetarian challenges. Having taken on year-long challenges two years in a row, I can tell you that when you do something for a year, it can change your life on all levels. I can also tell you that there is a kind of sadness at the end of the cycle/challenge although there really is no end. I still take daily walks outside. I intend to continue with my daily yoga practice. And I’m easing towards a mostly vegan lifestyle.
Having given it a lot of thought, I believe the previous two challenges (the year of getting outside every day, and the year of yoga and pescetarianism) are leading me towards a third.
I am going to challenge myself to a year of daily meditation practice. Seated meditation practice. I thought I should specify that because my daily walks are often a moving meditation.
I am thinking about finding a way to describe each day’s meditation visually by way of an image. When I was doing the 28-day meditation challenge provided by Yoga Journal, part of the practice was to journal after meditation, describing what you saw or felt or heard during the meditation. I often struggled with the descriptions, finding it difficult to put into words. Today, for example, my meditation was like a cloud.
Soft, filled with light, and arcing across the sky.
It’s not always like that. Some days my mind is like a clear, blue sky. Not a cloud to be seen or felt. Other days it’s more like the leaves being blown about by gusty winds on a gray and cloudy day. There is so much movement that all I can do is give up on stillness and follow the wind for a while.
I might start with metta or lovingkindness meditation. In her book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (Shambhala Classics), Sharon Salzberg writes that we should begin by befriending ourselves. I think that’s a good place for me to start. I am not always my own friend, and I’d like to be.
Metta is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves, as well as all parts of the world. Practicing metta illuminates our inner integrity because it relieves us of the need to deny different aspects of ourselves. We can open to everything with the healing force of love. When we feel love, our mind is expansive and open enough to include the entirety of life in full awareness, both its pleasures and its pains.
~ Sharon Salzberg
So that’s my next challenge, beginning on the Autumnal Equinox. I would also like to be more aware, more mindful, more in the now. That will likely be the bigger challenge, but not a new one. I’ve been working on it.
Well, that’s it from the Bogs on this rainy Friday afternoon. A cold front is moving through today. Tomorrow is predicted to be simply gorgeous. Mostly sunny with a high around 69 degrees. Sounds like good bike riding or hiking weather to me.
I hope you have a weekend filled with joy and wonder. 🙂
To be able to notice the less obvious beauty, to appreciate it, to change perspective for a time is a type of quiet, a way of rest. We do this by being fully aware in the moment. If we simply feel the miracle of being present, a kind of appreciation grows along with a kind of joy. Attending to the small things in front of us becomes a way of self-renewal and self-refreshment.
~ Sharon Salzberg