October 14, 2013
One of the greatest things about having kids is that they consistently teach us precisely and exactly what we need to be reminded of. Patience? No one will remind you of your need to instill patience in your life, your practice, your being, as a child will. Living in the moment? One moment, your child can be throwing a tantrum, angry at their sibling with a fury, and the next moment, they are happily playing with each other – the episode, forgotten. Simple pleasures? Ice cream is about as simple as it gets, and talk about joy! :)
How about Fear? This is my son, Orion. He is 9 years old – reminding me about the rewards of what it means to look your fear in the eye, and Do It Anyway. This is his first time “dropping in” into one of the large pools at the skatepark. He stared that drop in the eye for a couple weekends, unable to let go of the edge…and then, on this bright sunny Sunday morning, he let go…
…and it was smooth sailing, his muscles remembering just what needed to be done, as they had done each and every time he had dropped into the shallower pools before. It was a proud moment for him – and for my husband and I, as we watched and cheered him on. These “small” (though never small at the time) advances are so deeply deeply important for our forward progression – they are the training ground for us to conquer our larger leaps. In yoga, this is the “vinyasa” – the step by step process that moves us forward, and deeper into our own pursuits. And the cool, amazing thing about this process, of moving into something, one step at a time, is that it allows us to develop our very own contemplative practice – a practice that requires our full attention, intention, dedication, and “present” self. Of the many gifts that this kind of practice brings, one of the most wonderful is that it allows the very essence of who we are, to expand, to grow in awareness, patience, and compassion… as we are kind to ourselves, and to others, during those moments that we attempt to leap our hurdles, and fail.
Whether our challenge is physical – like dropping down a nearly 90 degree carved slope made of concrete (like my son did), or emotional – like presenting your novel to the world for the first time (as I am preparing to do) – the initial act can be a scary proposition. What if I fall and break my body into pieces? What if I publish my book and no one reads it? or likes it? or is affected by it? These are understandable fears, normal even. But if we allow ourselves to be ruled by them, to be stopped before we even try, then we allow fear itself to have the power – and of course, this hurts no one more, than ourselves. So here’s to doing it anyway :)