Last night I sensed the ‘bedtime’ signal and bristled. i still had five or six things I wanted to complete before retiring. But, I’d just set this challenge for myself, so I started to get ready. Then, I realized I wanted to take an evening supplement. As I walked back to the kitchen, I figured, “I can just switch the laundry” and then got in just a brief conversation with my son and watched a few minutes of what my daughter was watching. Yeah, I blew it. It all seemed so innocent at the time, barely a distraction… I mean, I didn’t start anything “new.” It took me ages to fall asleep and I had trouble getting up. Not my best start.
But the very best thing about Bodyfulness is that it is so squarely and firmly rooted in the present moment, I don’t feel a whole lot of anger with myself – it’s simply a noticing. And because Bodyfulness keeps me in the present moment (instead of some fantasyland where I am in bed within 2 minutes of sensing this signal) I don’t need myself to achieve perfection before I’m ok. I’m ok now. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I also realize I’m just starting out with this sensitivity. I’m in the information-gathering phase, noticing how I behave and what it feels like. This, my friend, is infinitely better than my prior pattern of setting a goal, expecting to hit it out of the park right from the get-go, and feeling shame, anger and remorse with every misstep. Infinitely better.
This is consistent with what I’ve been noticing as my practice grows. I’ve become less defensive and more curious. Less defensive of my shortcomings, more curious about why I defended them all so much for so long, more curious about the present moment and how I’m feeling – and (this is key) willing to just soften. I don’t feel quite the need to explain as I often have, even to myself. Sometimes I do well with things, sometimes I fail (myself or someone else); it doesn’t feel like the referendum every. single. thing. used to feel like. Every flub made me a fool, every triumph validated my superiority. I am feeling clearer and clearer neither moniker applies.
Today, the monastery’s wifi was down and the cell signal too weak to carry the zoom call. It’s the first time i’ve missed (#46!) and while I was disappointed and trying to figure out if there was anything else I could do, a friend came in whose dear friend had died yesterday. Had I been on zoom, I couldn’t have been present to him, and bless his heart, he deserved my full attention.
This is another distinct development through this practice: the willingness to believe that what is happening may be appropriate and positive even when it conflicts with what I thought was going to happen. Even if it “reflects badly” on me. Even if it reveals my weaknesses. maybe especially then…
I believe that this might come from the essential nature of bodyfulness… to prioritize the feeling state of the body demonstrates openness to what is, right now, right here, in this moment. I acknowledge that the body is a development of life itself, something I have no control over bringing in or taking out. This is obviously the most intimate relationship I can develop with the organic life here on this planet, at this time, in this mystical dance of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and the other elements.
I am running an experiment on trusting that dance and my place in it – not as a concept, as an experience. My physical interaction with the world. With this priority, I don’t have anything to defend. But I have oh-so-much to discover…