Shake it up Part 2
The poet Raymond Carvers’ last book of poetry published just before he died, is called “A New Path to the Waterfall”. I love that book because the poetry is beautiful and because my father gave it to me. Today I took a new path to my Yoga class. I didn’t mean to, but I did. Just at the point where two freeways converge and I should have merged right, I took a phone call from a friend and shortly afterward found myself on the wrong freeway. I was really looking forward to the class, and I was mildly frustrated and disappointed. Then I moved into problem solving mode. I now have a GPS system, and it told me where to get off the freeway and how to head to the right town. The path took me through winding country roads, which, while quite lovely, I found hard to believe was actually heading in the right direction. But the confidence of my GPS system (you know that slightly bossy woman who is so sure of herself?) drove me onward. I also didn’t see any alternative at that point. I realized I was applying one of the attitudinal foundations of Mindfulness – Faith .Faith – in this Global Positioning System, but really faith in something much larger; in the fundamental reality that I was presently safe and well, that I would find my way, if not to Yoga, class then to somewhere familiar and eventually back home. I have been ‘lost’ many times in my life both geographically and spiritually mentally, emotionally, and I have always found ( or been guided to )my home. The home that is always inside me. Like the beautiful line in the Native American poem ‘Lost”:
Stand Still, the forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.” (For the complete poem see below).
I got to practice the attitudinal Foundation; Patience- I was behind a car going a little below the speed limit on this curvy two lane highway. If they hadn’t been there I know I would have pushed the speed limit. Then I noticed that (unusually) I was not angry at myself – Foundation: Non –Judging. Instead I found some humor in it, here I am a Mindfulness teacher, going to her Yoga class and I am totally lost on the way to a place I have been to hundreds of times. I have a name for myself at times like this “Miss Mindfulness”.
Then I started to enjoy this new territory I was in, farm land, rolling hills, gradually turning into a residential area full of cute Victorian houses. Still no sign of familiarity. Foundational attitude: Beginners Mind! Lastly, I looked at getting lost as a signal that I was more tired than I thought. I am recently back from a very demanding trip to the UK and have been telling people with great surprise, “Hey I’m not really jet lagged!” Well I am jet lagged, or at least very tired. Knowing this rather than denying it, will allow me to be more careful than usual . It was also a good reminder that talking on the phone while driving is really a bad idea.
We teach people all the time in the stress reduction program, that a key to taking care of our stress is knowing that we are stressed when we are stressed, (rather than after the heart attack), so that we can take better care of ourselves.
I arrived at class about 3 minutes late in good spirits and enjoyed the class, and the adventure. It was my choice how to view this, stressful? Hassle? Or adventure and teaching. I chose the latter.
To learn more about Mindfulness and take and MBSR classes check out the website www.mindful-way.com or contact us at: email@example.com
For more on the Seven Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness I will post them in my next Blog.
Stand Still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called here,
And you must treat it as a powerful Stranger.
Must ask permission to know it and be known .
The forest breathes. Listen.It answers,
I have made a place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven,
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If wnat a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand Still.
The Forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
Native American Elder Story.