Mindfulness Community Drop In Group
I recently took my daughter on a college trip to a small school in Wisconsin. It was a wonderful school, very strong and supportive both, and it was very far away. That my daughter has this opportunity to go here brought up a complex mixture of emotions.
So I, as I’ve learned to do with mindfulness, I choose a time to sit with this mix of emotions in practice. On one level, it was fairly easy to identify my now familiar set of parental fears and desires for her about this possibility… Those, I’ve done enough work with to recognize, acknowledge and then, as much as possible, let go. I do my best as a parent, and then allow her the space to figure out her journey, instead of trying to drive her journey from my fears or desires.
But with this particular practice, a whole new thing was up. I found how clearly I’m grappling with my work, my journey— my soon to be empty nest.
Truly for the last 22 years, my primary role in life has been as a caregiver in my family for both my daughters and my parents. Suddenly I am looking at a new life without that as a primary role— and I’m learning how clearly I can look at this through two very different lens. One lens is from the perspective of my fear based mind and it is scary. Who am I when not define by my relationships with family?
Sitting in practice, a different lens opens up—one that is exciting, an adventure in learning who am I when not defined by my relationship with them…
Waking up with mind/heartfulness to the questions of my life makes all the difference, so I feel an even deeper sense of urgency, need to be alive in my practice, an urgency that feels sweet and opening, not a striving impatience, but a developing sense of wonder. This is the sense of wonder and possibility Mary Oliver names so well in her poem The Summer Day:
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? —Mary Oliver
In support of asking ourselves, what is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life?, I offer these questions for engaging in your own practice both formal and informal and bringing some light to your own deepest wishes for youself:
What kind of practice are you doing, either formal or informal?
How does it make you feel when you are practicing well?
How does that affect your life?
How does your practice affect those around you?
What does resistence to practice look like for you right now?