and not just in my awareness of my physical sensations, in the habits and situations I become aware of (such as a few weeks ago, not standing square to the sink; months ago putting hands down at red lights; last year, relearning how to stand and walk from my center – instead of trying to be three feet in front of myself, always in the next thing
I carry a ridiculous amount of tension in my body for no reason at all. it’s self inflicted, deeply habitual and of absolutely no benefit. Some time ago, I realized my shoulders were often up around my ears. I’ve never inhabited my body fully, even at the height of my yoga practice. it was all in the service of something else, something elusive, and i kept myself always three feet in front of myself looking for the answers, trying to get there quicker. Now, going into the body being my primary practice, spiritual and simply practical, I want to be right here, right now. and my body is the obvious access point. Relaxing as my primary form of prayer and meditation – a physical experience that when added with open noticing and not needing to change, forms this trifecta of gorgeousness that lets life open up to in all her gentleness and glory.
Walking through the grocery store today, I felt the sensation of trying to be in the next aisle, trying to move through the store. Thankfully, I noticed. I became conscious of the choice I didn’t know i was making, the program i run about grocery stores. Noticing brings choice and when the default choice is “relax” things start to shift. and then it feels good so you want to do it more: more noticing, more relaxing – our bodies can surf in this symbiotic amalgamation of energy and matter on this planet, at this moment. We’re here. We’re here, we’re here, we’re here, we’re here, we’re here. It’s bigger than any one of us, and yet we are all essential in mind-boggling ways we could never understand – but we can live.
Relaxing makes my experience an entirely different one than that physical tension-filled embodyment I do by habit. things go from ‘having to be somewhere’ (which was always) and to “here. relaxed and moving through time and space from my center and my love.”
I used to (regularly) turn the oil on in the pan before I peeled the onion. No reason. (i mean, to heat up the oil a bit, but I also risked burning it if everything didn’t go according to plan). I put undue pressure on myself to spur myself on. Now, I explicitly do the opposite. I undo the pressure. i drop my shoulders (i learned to try to start doing 10 years ago), square my hips (this is new in these couple of weeks), drop my sacrum and breathe at the dantien (new through tai chi a year or two ago), notice, relax, not need to interpret, be and relax for a minute; then, boom, back into life. chop that onion. and usually, before I finish chopping that single onion, I again will notice somehow my shoulders developed some stress and I get to relax them again, while chopping, relearning to chop at 50 years old.
Now, from this fresh place that knows it can jump in the pool really soon (because I’ll have another cue that will prompt me to take a bodyful breath within the next half hour at the most). The habits are identifying themselves and moving towards release as I notice and release resistence to the feeling state.
So my direction feels good. relaxing feels good, getting out of whatever i was thinking for a second feels good (I’ll get back to it in a minute, but for this moment, the body gets the keys), coming into the present moment is rife with gift (if just for the reprieve from the past and future for a breath or two). Life is made up of one breath at a time. Some moments are painful. I’m learning to say yes, yes, yes. i know as i release my resistence to the pain it will run its course in the shortest order possible – resistence is what causes suffering. pain’s no big deal, though sometimes it sucks – both emotional and physical. Coming to accept the wholeness of the Tao within us, that which we’re so pleased to be privileged to live and also to those traits and qualities that seem to have been programmed from a million different factors that cause shame. (that’s true too. or is it?) I think the body processes shame much more efficiently than the mind (which will always have another thought about it). Emotions work in short bursts – 90 seconds even. let them have their moment, grounded in the present moment, then relax in your dantien til you feel grounded, then go on with your day. you’ve just given yourself the best shot at a good ‘from here on out.’ Every time we make a choice like this, we are rolling out the carpet for the future – it is mind boggling to think that each choice we make is creating our future. are we choosing love or fear? I personally am experiencing that question as love=relaxing, fear=constricting, and I am training myself to relax more and more…