It’s fascinating to me that I’ve practiced yoga and mindfulness all these years but still haven’t integrated the lessons fully into my being. I’m referring to slowing down … like reeeeeaaaaaaalllly slowing down. Like never reacting. Is that possible?
As I walked into Starbucks today to get some work done, I stopped and talked to the girl at the counter prior to ordering. I know a few of the baristas but had never met her. Sydney. I had a lovely, easy conversation with her.
Now, it’s not like I’ve never done this before. I look each one in the eyes and talk to them. It’s hard to explain but today’s encounter was different. I was more at ease. It was like I completely LANDED in my body and stayed there throughout the conversation. I didn’t DO anything special. It wasn’t an intentional activity. I was just IN my body far more than in my head, and that’s what makes all the difference.
I am in my head so much. It’s how I’m built. I am a great listener, generally actively listening, not thinking about the next thing I will say, but there’s less ease in more situations than I’d like. I’m always conscious of what the other person might be thinking of me. It’s disorienting (and generally un-peaceful) to live this way. I feel like I am seeing myself more clearly, while taking myself less seriously lately. It feels nice.
My new practice in all public settings (or as many as possible) in order to find more ease and groundedness, in order to embody myself:
- Feel my feet on the ground. Feel myself land IN my body.
- Look the person in the eyes. See them.
- Say hello.
- Wait for their response.
- Listen … like really listen … to what they say and how they say.
- Respond in a natural way, making light but meaningful conversation.
Y’all may think I’m crazy. Sometimes I think I am too. Do most people do this? It’s not an easy, natural thing for me. My whole life has been about R E A C T I O N.
It’s about presence and intention. Seems simple enough but I forget to slow down too often. If I’m not doing this practice, what the hell am I doing?
Why should I care? Why should you care? Why should anyone care?
Maybe no one does, but I absolutely know that I feel better when I write. I feel more me. I feel less stressed about life. My mind isn’t nearly as cluttered as it would be otherwise.
I am a writer, not necessarily because I’m good at it but because I WRITE. It’s what I do. I established this habit many years ago and I’m not stopping anytime soon.
Since my mom’s death I’ve been called even more to write consistently. Why? Because I literally have nothing left of her. I gave her a journal for Mother’s Day the year before her death. I wanted to know what was in her heart. She was going through so much during the last few years. As I was going through her things after she passed, I found that journal — empty. My heart sank. I don’t ever want my daughter to wonder what was in my heart. It will all be here, in my journals and the other place I write, in black and white.
“The trouble is, you think you have time,” a statement that rings in my head often. Sometimes it haunts me. My only child turns 18 later this week. How can I be the mother of an almost-adult? I’m only in my thirties; well that’s not entirely truthful but it is how I feel.
Wasting time. I lie in bed scrolling in the morning, not social media as much as I used to, but eliminating phone notifications, updating apps, checking my calendar, bank account. Hello OCD. Sometimes I make good use of the time by texting friends or reading a book. Still, I definitely waste time. And I get mad at myself for it. I should be up. I should be writing.
There are many things I want to achieve in this lifetime. Not being judicious with my time, I slip a little further behind.
The sincere drive of wanting to achieve also causes angst. It causes me to be short or ignore others. I’ve done it to my husband more than once. Working on personal projects this weekend, writing, J does a great job of entertaining himself. We are here, together, but in two separate places. He checks in with me. It’s kind, considerate. As he drove up on the golf cart yesterday, I was on the front deck tapping away at the keyboard. I barely looked up. If he’d behaved that way toward me, I’d be hurt. My strong internal drive to achieve and my relationship to time, namely the lack of it, cause rudeness.
If yoga has taught me to be in the now (and it has, I’m better than I used to be), why do I still fight with my relationship to time? How do I reconcile the two? This is my pondering today.
Deep breaths. Soft shoulders. Turning the corners of my lips upward, I feel thankful for this moment. THIS. This is all I can control right now. Maybe that’s the lesson. One breath. One moment. One day at a time.
H I ! I ‘ M H E A T H E R S A G E .
Life changes all the time. It’s the only constant. Beautiful, mundane, joyful, awful, insightful, random, the way things move through.
My practice here is of ‘recording life’ so I can watch it move.
The name of this blog, on the 19, is where most of life takes place, where I muse about being human.
EMBODIED MEMOIR WRITING PRACTICE