Part 2.5: Becoming Me, Almost….

Yes, I know I promised the next part of this series was going to be about how I understand intimacy, but a bit of something happened last night to cause me to get this out first.  Please pardon the interruption and the detour.  And please excuse the coltish awkwardness to follow; I’m terribly out of practice at writing any sort of poetry.

 

He walked the graveled path on bare feet,

Pain impaled the body and mind

Alone and lost in winter’s freeze.

He stopped, howled his anguish and

Tried to soothe the temporary ache

With fleeting relief to the wounds that quickly fell away.

He found, discarded but fair cloth to bind his feet.

And the walk became less strained…

And the path began to yield its light.

A willow’s feathers brushed the ground,

Offering a tender invitation to rest a while.

Pleasant and soothing, but only for a moment

Before offering protection for the continuing journey.

Though the path remained loose and rocky

The stones grew smaller and less threatening,

Further separated from his self

By the gift of the willow’s boughs wrapped tightly ’round his feet.

Color peeked from the undergrowth

As flowers peered their frilly faces upward in encouragement to continue his search.

Taller and brighter grew the petals and

He smiled.

Then, in the garden of the home he left a lifetime ago,

The sweet scent of a flower emerged from a tangle of thorns.

Recognized yet unknown in youth.

Confidently, he pruned away the sharp distractions to exposed the red heart of a rose.

Small. Soft. Delicate yet sturdy on its own straight spine of scattered minute thorns.

He drew his breath at the find,

Bent.

Cupped the bloom to his face in hands folded as if in prayer.

Closed his eyes to bend and drink her scent.

He took nothing from the rose, yet gave her nourishment.

Her spikes lost their threatening stance and

She enveloped him in her beauty and invisible gifts,

While she  grew stronger and brighter.

For he was home,

And she, tended.

 

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Pain, Fog, and Stillness

Used with permission from flickr.com/photos/2kun.  Photographs on this site are copyrighted and are available for purchase.  Do contact the original owner for details.

Used with permission from flickr.com/photos/2kun. Photographs on this site are copyrighted and are available for purchase. Do contact the original owner for details.

What a dark sounding title for a post, eh? I promise it’s not all gloom and doom, but it comes from joy birthed through pain. At first glance, the photo above struck me as painful…despairing…alone. But the more I stared at it, the more I could see it as a metaphor for life, specifically, my recent life.

 

Let’s start with the bleeding obvious, the barbed wire: sharp, restrictive, and exclusionary. It says “You are not allowed in here, or out of here. Any attempts to gain entrance or escape will be met with sure pain…and lots of cursing and blood.”

 

Now, turn your attention to the fog. Fog clouds, shrouds, and obscures our field of vision. Think about driving down the road when you encounter a smoky blanket of cloud, kissing the pavement and making you nervous about what lies ahead. Where is the road? What if the guy in front of me doesn’t have on his/her lights? I might smack into him! I can’t see! Never mind you’ve traveled that road a gazillion times before and know every pothole and bump. You doubt your own history, prior knowledge, and assume the worst. You know the road is there somewhere, but you’re just not certain where anymore.

 

Finally, the water: gray, still, perhaps stagnant. It’s deserted; there is no sign of activity, devoid of all visible life.

 

If I were to describe my life for about a three-year period, I would use these descriptors as the colors to paint what seemed a grim picture. I felt trapped and the only way out would be painful. I couldn’t imagine that there was anything out there that wasn’t as bleak as what I felt at the time. Just nothing. In my mind, there was absolutely nothing out there to find that didn’t have the potential to be more painful than what I already knew. So for the longest time, I stayed with the pain I knew, rather than risk a pain that was new and unknown.

 

But slowly, I came to understand that reality is what you make it at times. Through an enormous amount of hard work and a dose of prayer, I began to rewrite my reality. I could now look at the picture above in a different light. The barbed wire came to represent the challenges to my life that I could get through; all I had to do was find the right tool to cut it. That tool exists; it’s not mythical. It’s Faith. My faith allows me to break through any obstacle to reach what I need to live.

 

In the concrete sense, I need water…the still quiet of the water. I find that I am calmed by water. A mountain stream, the gently lapping tides in the morning on the beaches at the Outer Banks, but especially the Chesapeake Bay…these all ground me and have the ability to instantly make me appreciate that there is a Creator who made these marvels for me to experience and protect. In the abstract, water is to me a metaphor for love. Love, like the waters of the Earth, can be calm and still, or turbulent and stormy; it’s never the same from moment to moment, sometimes it is present in abundance. Other times it seems scarce or fouled. I look through the pain of my past, break through with the aid of my faith, to find love, still, quiet, and ready for me to wade in as deep as I am willing to go. I will float along in it, and allow it to carry me where it will, unconfined.

 

Which brings me to the fog. No longer does fog represent fear and darkness, but rather a soft unknowing. I think of this as trying to understand or explain God’s purpose for me. I think I have an idea of what lies ahead, but in fact, I don’t know for certain. I can decide what I think lies ahead, but when I open my eyes and my heart, I may find something very different…that God’s purpose for me may be unknown or unclear at the moment, but the uncertainty isn’t permanent. In time, when the conditions are right, the fog will lift and all will be made clear.

At church this weekend, the pastor spoke of unanswered prayers, or more correctly, that God answers all prayers, just that sometimes, the answer is “No”. And like children, sometimes we don’t like to be told “no”, but it’s for our own good. I really struggled with this for the longest time in my past, and I even used this as a rationale to turn from my faith for many, many years. If I prayed, and the prayer was answered the way I wanted, then I could “see” that there was God. But if the prayer went, in my mind, unanswered, then this must be proof that there was no God, as a merciful God would surely grant me what I wanted. But it doesn’t work like that, no more than a child asking for cake for breakfast is going to get told he can have it (well, ok, once in a blue moon we get something extraordinary like that, but you get my point). We are children who need to be told “no” once in a while, for our own good.

 

So when I look again at this picture, and I think of my prayers for the pain to be lifted, for the path to be cleared to love again, and I reflect on who is in my life right now, I can’t help but believe that this is a special time in my life of prayers being answered and people being placed in my life in response to those prayers. The question that now remains to be answered…that will be answered in time, is this: has God placed this person in my life, so seemingly out of the blue, for the remainder of my life, or only as a lesson that His plan is for me to have this love for a moment? I don’t know, but I do know this; I will do everything I know to be a good steward of the love He has laid at my feet and not take a single drop for granted.

I Have Seen “Content”

I’ve Seen Content…

 

Today is Saturday, the first day that we haven’t had 90 plus degree heat with 150% humidity here in RVA in a week or so.  The sun keeps hiding behind the clouds, casting a shadow over the freshly cut yard and our deck.  Coffee is that much sweeter and richer first thing in the morning when the temperature is conducive to sipping hot drinks.  I require that hit of caffeine first thing in the morning, much like my meditation, but it sure is easier to get down when the ambient temperature doesn’t exceed that in the cup.

 

It’s been a very rare sort of day; the most strenuous activity I’ve managed so far has been a lovely breakfast of pancakes and farmer’s market sage sausage with mixed fruit (that stuff is to die for by the way…highly urge you to seek them out at http://www.salt-pork.com/ .  You won’t regret it).  Oh, and a shower.  I did manage that.  So I was leaning on the kitchen window, watching “Bruce” chilling in the beach chair in the backyard.  I just paused to watch for a moment…bit of peaceful voyeurism for a Saturday morning. I must have heard him say a half a dozen times this morning just how much he was enjoying this…this complete and absolute lack of something that needed to be done.  The most pressing need at hand was to move the chairs from sun to shade as the sun steadily arced across the sky from morn to noon.  We both work hard, and a day of complete rest with no demands on our minds or our time or our bodies is rare.

 

I just watched from my window, and saw him check his phone…laughing.  Hand to the side of his face and smile.  That beautiful smile. Texts from friends wishing him well on this beautiful weekend and his vacation.  A text from one of his children telling him how much he is loved, and anxious to see him for dinner tonight.  Laughing again…most likely at a blooper reel or video of one of his favorite comedians.  I’ve rarely seen someone stop to relax so completely, let life carry on around him while he stopped his race to join its frenzy.  He put his head back for a moment, closed his eyes, and just smiled.

 

Content.  I have felt contentment myself, but I do believe it was the first time I’ve witnessed content outside a sleeping child’s bed.  It was truly beautiful.

 

I pray for more days of content.

Love No Matter….

love no matter who

Welcome to this beautiful Monday morning!  The air is crisp: not exactly chilly, but a nice reprieve from all the rain and scorching heat we’ve had recently.  I had an amazing weekend that still is carrying over into today and tomorrow.  Any chance to spend this much time getting to know the new man in my life makes me quite grateful that I have this opportunity for a long summer break.  There.  I said it.  I’m a teacher, and I love my summer break!  So sue me.

Morning meditation was a bust…I couldn’t focus. The cats kept creeping under me and into my lap.  The dog kept laying on the mat and putting her head on my knee and nudging my hand.  My thoughts kept creeping back to the trials my daughter is experiencing in her life. I’d then get annoyed because I wanted to reflect on the church service I had attended with my sister and her family yesterday as they prepare for a two week missions trip to Lima (yes, I went to church…remember, I don’t NOT believe, I just believe differently).  I wanted to reflect on where my relationship is currently with “Bruce”  (it’s just occurred to me that I have a topic for another post…what do you call someone you’re dating when you both pushing 50?). Nothing I wanted to accomplish, was happening on the mat this morning.  Even when I gave up on the meditation and just went to trying sun salutations, the dog crept in between my legs while trying to move into Warrior….the cats immediately moved onto my pillow and behind my feet.  Unless I wanted to end up on my rear end, I figured I had just give it a rest this morning and move on.  See proof of my troubles this morning….

cat vs yoga

Grumped my way back into the house to fix coffee and grab the laptop to have a good whine about it on Facebook.  But while I was waiting for the morning dopamine delivery to be ready, I scrolled through my timeline, and ran across the poster above. I’ve seen it many times before and appreciated the message, but for some reason, something clicked this time.

“Some people won’t love you no matter what you do…”

I reflected on someone close to me.  It seems that as fortunate as I have been in relationships (yes, even the ups and downs of 29 years of marriage to one man), my beautiful friend has had the opposite experience.  She is in a relationship now that is so toxic emotionally I’m afraid, that I find it painful to witness.  I have really tried to support her, counsel her, guide her, listen  to her, but it becomes more and more difficult as time grows on.  I know I cannot force her to listen to reason, but as a friend, it is heartbreaking to watch her trudge through life, one depressing event after another.  She claims over and over that she loves her partner, that she couldn’t live without him.  Then in the next breath, is hysterically screaming that he is constantly putting her down and telling her she is no good…telling her that no one but him will ever love her.  As her friend, trust me, it is painful to hear those words and not physically respond to them.  But I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t do well in jail, so….

I can reflect as well on my own marriage breakdown, and how different it has been to my friend’s experience.  I was unable to “make” my ex love me, and it took a very long time for me to understand that.  It took even longer for me to understand fully that it wasn’t his fault, nor was it mine. We created a beautiful family together, and that was what we were destined to do.  No amount of changing or therapy or pretending was going to change the fact that over the course of our marriage, we both grew into more confident adults who knew better what they needed in life and were smart enough (and compassionate enough) to admit we couldn’t provide that for the other. So now we stay friends, and that is the best way it should be.

“…and some people won’t stop loving you no matter what you do.”

Which brings me here.  I really don’t think there is much to say about this.  Reflect on all those in your life, past/present, family/friends who are always there for you (sometimes with bail money), who will tell you off in a heartbeat, then offer to kick the crap out of whoever has upset you.  These are the people we all need in our lives; people who will build you up, hold you up, and love you, even when you are busy being the biggest dumb ass you can possibly be.

“Go where the love is!”

…and when you get a text that you need to come snuggle, that’s exactly where you go….

Namaste om shanti

K

Oxytocin vs Dopamine: A Tale of Two Loves

This post has been trying to hit the page since Monday night, but its timeliness hit me with such force I had to catch my breath first.  I subscribe to a few yoga, Buddhism, and “New Age” sorts of blogs, and there is one that always seems to have something spiritual crossed with science.  Being a bit of a geek, but a free-spirit at the same time…well, I really enjoy this one. The topic of the webinar was “Love, Sex, and Yoga”.  Ok, you’ve got my attention.

 

Here is a link to the webinar in case you’re interested.  http://lifespa.com/webinar-love-sex-yoga/?inf_contact_key=c13677e407f8f769ebf0e1b57031f5b06eb06ceba82a5f61f88a7fc32bb99c06

 

If you aren’t into Ayurveda or yoga, some of the terms will seem quite hysterical or just plain bizarre, but that’s okay; I’ll try to sum up some of what I heard/learned in more simple terms as we work through this. Ready? You’ll have to endure the backstory first; bear with me. This is some deep shiznit….

 

If you’ve been keeping up with the rekindling of this blog/my journey, you are aware that I am now technically still separated, but right at the edge of finalizing my divorce from my husband of 29 years.  Loads of reasons, some will be implied, but I’ll try very hard to refrain from placing blame either side, as truly, it rarely ever is one-sided.  The marriage ended, for me, emotionally, about 5 years ago with a major event on his part.  I absolutely hit rock bottom then, and I spent the next 8 or 9 months in therapy to figure out why and how to fix it.  But instead of learning how to repair a broken relationship with my spouse, I learned a far more valuable lesson: how to fix the relationship with myself.  I cried more than I’ve ever cried, was angrier, more indecisive, more disappointed, more every negative emotion you can come up with…then I started to take the therapy sessions to heart and really listened.  I did hear him challenge me to answer honestly, but I finally listened to what he wanted me to know.  Mainly, that this marriage was probably over, but that if I was ever going to have a snowball’s chance in Hades of having a healthy relationship in the future, I had to get honest with myself…I had to acknowledge every shitty thing that happened in the marriage as it came to my mind, ask myself what my role was in it, decide how to not do that again, then let it go and move on.  Oh yeah, and while I was at it, wake up every morning and do two things:

 

1. Forgive myself and my ex and,

2. Make a checklist of who I am, what I need to be happy, and what that would look like.

 

Shit, he didn’t want much from me, did he?

 

But I did…over the next few years I started working on my own version of these, as well as a flow chart of progression of a relationship.  My therapist shook his head and laughed out loud with me at the daughter-of-an-engineer’s approach, but he let me own it.  Goes a bit like this:

 

  • Like: You like someone or something, but you could take it or leave it.  It/they don’t typically cross your mind unless you put direct effort into it.
  • Want: You are interested in something/someone, would like to have/experience it, but you don’t require it in order to live. Bit of fun. Nice to experience, but not on the Bucket List.
  • Need: Now we’re getting deeper.  The choices of needs are fewer, and you are more selective.  Without it, life would be more challenging or unpleasant.  You think about it often and create goals in order to achieve it. You cannot see yourself as complete without it.
  • Love: Absolutely must have/do/be with.  A choice to the exclusion of all others (isn’t that the most Unromantic B.S. you’ve ever read in your life?  Yeah…it really was).  Not certain you can breathe without it.

 

As I type these words even now, I’m laughing at myself…how I thought of these.  I still think somewhat in terms of this progression, but I experience it so differently now.  At the time though, I also worked on what it might look like to fall in love again.  I thought he (therapist) was an ass for making me work through this too, but I did it anyway.  I won’t share that partly because it has evolved the most, yet started off the most concrete of the checklists.  I just knew I would be in love if I could check X percentage of items on this list.  As I worked through this list of “me”, I began to realize what he was trying to get me to do: admit to myself what I really wanted in life, from a partner, what I needed in order to be happy and content…and ready for this?

 

…to accept who I am, for what I am, make no apologies for it, be content that I am enough, and to just be satisfied knowing who I am. Celebrate THAT, experience THAT, share THAT, and in time, someone will recognize it in me, and fall in love with the real me.  But if I didn’t love me first, then it was foolish to expect anything but the same shit results again.  Powerful stuff…about like being smacked in the face with Truth.  Painful.  Enlightening. Liberating. You name it.  I felt it.

 

Some of the things that became even more apparent to me as I stuck a toe back into the dating pool helped me clarify even more what I needed in a relationship.  I have found myself returning more and more to my southern roots and being more proud and comfortable with them.  I truly am a very simple person, needing very little to make me happy and content.  Give me a bit of dirt to dig in, good friends, a faithful dog, the room to grow spiritually in my own way, a fluffy down quilt, a cold Belgian wheat beer and someone to share them with….

 

So that “someone to share them with” bit…as I started meeting up with guys for coffee dates, it became clear that some were looking for fun (that’s cool), some were looking for a replacement for the spouse they no longer had (hummm…replacement, sounds like a recall), or just someone to roll in the sack with (MAYDAY!!!)  And for a couple, I just didn’t click for them, and that was okay too.  No harm, no foul right?  But here is where I seriously took another look at dating…what role did I see sex playing in this new chapter?  I had to sit back and really re-examine this new “concept” for me.  I mean, seriously, I had been completely monogamous throughout the entire marriage.  Completely.  Heart and soul.  It was that important to me, and I took those marriage vows seriously.

 

Here is what I knew in my heart based on now knowing myself; I didn’t want to give myself so completely to someone again without there being a connection of the heart.  Connection in spirit.  I needed to bond with someone, care about them, want to care for them, and have them not be “in it to win it” so to speak.  I believe I have a gift to give someone, the gift of me, my heart and spirit, and I was not willing to just toss those parts of me out the window for a cheap thrill.  But how was I going to tell the difference between a deeper connection, love, and its yin: lust?  I figured I would pull out the handy-dandy checklist and start mentally keeping score.  It helped to be honest.  I could remind myself that while, heck yeah the guy on the other side of the table was easy on the eyes or saying all the right things, there wasn’t that real want to know more.  Things didn’t go from “like” to “want”, and I am thankful.

 

I continued to share on Facebook my journey to rediscovering myself, my fears when I had a health scare, things that made me laugh, the massive weight loss on what I affectionately call the “Happy Diet”.  Life was good.

 

Then out of the blue.  I got a private message.  On Facebook.  From a former high school alum.  My life got flipped.  This guy reached out with such a simple, from the heart honest message: he had spoken to my sister in church, and had mentioned how much he enjoyed reading my posts, that he admired my attitude, that I was fast becoming a favorite of his to read.  Oh, cool.  I said thank you, and let it stay at that.

 

A week later, I had been having a bit of an “off” kind of day for a multitude of reasons…none really worth getting excited about. I looked for a positive to pull me out of the funk, and there was the earlier conversation. I had not deleted it for some reason so I replied back that I had a bit of a down day, and had read his note to give me a boost, and thanked him for it.  Shoot, if someone makes you smile, and they don’t know, I figure they ought to know they’ve done something good, right?  He replied back quickly, and the rest as they say, is history.  We’ll skip all the in between chatter that led to the first date, but that first date went from first coffee to first dinner to first kiss over the course of an afternoon and evening.  Whoa.  Pull back and regroup.

 

I’m going to fast-forward again a bit, to the main topic of this post.  Perhaps in time, I’ll share more of the getting to know you stage if you think it may help you connect with someone, but for now, that’s all ours. So when do you know, I mean really know in this ultra-jacked up fast-paced society, that sex should become part of your dating ritual?  Conundrum…I mean, here was this absolutely amazing guy, treating me like a princess/lady, respecting all the boundaries I was throwing out there, but at the same time, eliciting a response from me I didn’t think was possible…or at least, I had told myself wasn’t possible.  How the heck did he do that?

 

We had a very frank discussion about sex beyond the “can you get pregnant” and “are you clean” (we have spent a lot of time sharing our histories…no judgment implied).  I ventured into my thoughts on sex, that I believed for me, sex needed to be the ultimate expression of my caring, bonding, and giving of myself to someone.  That while it may physically feel really good, and some would argue that sex is a basic animal urge (which I don’t disagree with in principle) that I had to know that this was not a one-nighter.  I wasn’t asking for a ring and a promise of the altar in exchange for all of me, but rather a knowledge that giving myself would be met with the respect and understanding of the commitment from me that it would mean.

 

If he was going to run for the hills, this was certainly the time to do it…no call came from a “friend” to rescue him from a flat tire at an awkward moment…no sudden need to write a report or head to the gym.  There was simply, understanding.  He understood, and said it might be tough, since he is a guy and all that (said with this whole face smile he does so well…lights up a room…seriously), but that he completely understood and would respect my needs.  So here it was, I had laid out bare my thoughts on needing to bond, connect, touch, laugh, share, be with this man, and he was still texting and calling throughout the day.  There was, and still is, a somewhat animal urge that creeps up on me at times…I love to bury my face in his chest and just breathe him in… He said perhaps the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard when he hugged me in the kitchen.  He put his chin on top of my head and said, “I love how you just fit perfectly here.”  Nearly melted, died on the spot.  I mean honestly.  This guy has a quirky obsession with Star Trek, loves all things sci-fy, yet is as big a gentleman and romantic as they come.  Awwww…

 

So are we in fact, in love?  That’s an excellent question.  I know that if I should wake up tomorrow to his voice telling me that it was time to continue our journeys apart, I would be terribly sad for a bit, but would genuinely wish him well and be grateful for the amazing memories, as well as a fantastic time spent reaffirming that I am worth someone’s attention and affection.  He made me believe by being so freely giving of himself, that I deserve to be pampered and that all roads do not in fact, lead to instant gratification and sex.  He will always hold a special place in my heart for that.  So, I would say that we love each other as we would any other fellow human we care about. But as for having reached the level of love that is reserved for the person who completes you, then no, we aren’t there. If that love comes, it will come when it is ready, and when we are both ready.

 

So where do the oxytocin and dopamine mentioned in the webinar come into play?  Where was I going with all of this in the first place? Briefly, the webinar explained that the body releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, when the mind and body enter into bonding sorts of activities: actively being kind (specific acts), holding a newborn baby, touching, remembering pleasant events…in short, being kind and available emotionally releases this hormone (which incidentally, our physiology appears to be happy with, regardless of the frequency or duration).  Oxytocin appears to be the hormone we need to take a relationship to the next level.  Now here is the part that stopped me in my tracks.  The speaker said that relationships that start off with sex as a primary focus of the relationship, we in fact tying the act of sex to acceptance.  Sex, releases dopamine, the “addiction” hormone if you will.  It is the feel-good, gotta have more hormone released with thrill seeking, high energy behaviors. When we go straight to sex, we often are looking for that instant high; if we do that as a first response, we are essentially dopamine junkies.  The more we release dopamine, the more of it our bodies require to still get that same sensation, that rush.  It’s why thrill junkies often do more and more dangerous shit until it kills them: they’re hooked. Oh, and awful news of the day…coffee causes us to release trace amounts of dopamine.  Oops….

 

The speaker went on to say that many of us will have those moments or periods in our life where the instant thrill or satisfaction from sexual release is all we want, but that to make a habit of it, makes it hard to retrain the heart and brain that bonding is the ultimate goal; the sex will come as an expression of having bonded so completely with someone that you need to give yourself completely to them, without expecting anything in return, yet knowing that your heart will be returned.

 

How is that for a big ol’ punch in the gut?  The speaker went on to say, that a new relationship that may have started off with early sex, recognized that there may be more to it, still had time to pull back, regroup, and start fresh with oxytocin activities.  Making those the priority would lead to more bonding and develop a need for the bonding…bonding (not “bondage”…get your mind out of the gutter…) is what carries you through life’s ups and downs.  It allows you to trust and love and disagree and forgive without any reservation.  But also of importance, it would allow you to part as friends if that is the path that ultimately proved to be necessary; you would have developed a relationship based on trust and understanding that each is their own person who would be loved and respected for that, not to be molded into what you think you need or want. Go watch the webinar for yourself if you like; understand that he is speaking from an Ayurvedic wisdom and practice and listen for the deeper message and information.

 

So, as I reflect on this post, which has now taken several days to write, I can smile as I think about all the oxytocin I must have bopping around in my brain right now…gardening, cooking, snoozing, spooning and snoozing, relaxing, laughing, smiling….

 

I don’t know about you, but an oxytocin addiction seems like a great one to have….

 

Sun Salutations and Heart Meditations

This one is highly personal and unedited, as there is a deeper spiritual and social issue I want to get to writing before the thoughts leave me.  So please forgive any jumbled words hitting the page before my brain can redirect them.

This morning was beautiful, the sun just beginning to peep through the blinds about 5:30am or so. There was a lovely warm body beside mine, snoring softly. A night of fixing restorative food from the farmer’s market, laughing,  getting introduced to a new (to me) show, and cuddling was ending with me sneaking out from under the covers and heading for the mat.  Before your eyebrows can shoot off the top of your head, you can get the scoop on my views of sex and relationships in the next post that’s in the pipeline.  Simmer down….

I couldn’t resist; I grabbed my mat and meditation pillow and headed outside for the deck. Just the slightest of chill to the air, hitting my shoulders as I unfurled my mat and placed the pillow at the foot of it.  Typically, we try to face the rising sun for morning meditation and sun salutations.  This proved to be a touch challenging, as the sun was coming up in a location in my new home that left me feeling…well…exposed, on the deck.  I eventually came to a compromise, and settled in.

Surprisingly, I was able to get focused  pretty quickly, tuning out the squirrels who were already up and giving mad chase up and down the massive oak out front, there were few cars peeling out around the corners, and even the birds were somewhat lazily rising in song..no urgency to their trills…just joyful awakenings. A few stray thoughts crept in: wonder if I set up the French press last night (nope), I think the new tomato plants would like living in that little corner…I think I’ll try that idea using the brass bed as a yoga/meditation/sitting area in the little “secret” garden. I acknowledged each thought in turn, thanked it for coming to me, and let it go. Then I got down to the business of just being in the moment.  It is truly difficult to describe in words the experience of a positive morning meditation, but when I brought my hands to heart center, to third eye, and back to heart, I was at complete and total peace with myself and my world at the moment.  I rolled into Child’s Pose to start the gentle stretches that would help my twisted spine wake up and release it’s grip on me.  First there is pain, followed by the gentle release of tension.  Working through modified poses, I have my own version of sun salutations governed by what my spine will allow in that moment, and it’s okay. I don’t have a set routine; I roll from pose to pose as feels right, and hold as long as I feel the need.

As I lift hands to heart center one final time, I say prayers for peace, prayers for acceptance of what is, prayers for my sister and niece as they prepare for a missions trip to Costa Rica, prayers for my children and grandchildren, a prayer for my Dad’s health and heart, even a prayer for my ex that he finds contentment and happiness in his new life.  As I lift those prayers skyward, I say a final prayer for the beautiful man asleep inside, that even if he and I should decide at some point to continue our life’s journeys separately, that he finds peace, love, and acceptance that fulfills his heart and faith. I can want for no more than this for him, is for him to be happy and content.

Namaste