It’s a little over halfway through what I’ve come to call, in my head only to this point, my Month of Mindfulness. In other words, this month I’ve been experimenting with, and practicing, living entirely in the Now in line with what I learned on my self-imposed retreat at the end of August.
Admittedly, I’ve had a few hiccups.
Last week a potentially BIG change was announced at work, which caused my boss, coworker, friends and family to ask me questions about the far-flung, nebulous future to which some of them made it glaringly apparent that I didn’t have satisfactory answers.
All of it went back to the question that haunted my thoughts constantly and kept me awake, or tossing and turning, at night, that gave me nightmares and made me a nervous wreck most of the summer…Namely variations on this: “What are you going to do with your life?” And not in a tone that would accept simply living as an answer, but inquiring of the particulars: of a solid, money-making career and moving plans and saving for retirement, of a husband (there’s not even a boyfriend yet!), children, a house, a picket fence, a dog, and so forth.
I had two days of existential angst, then told myself that this big change was, for the time being, on a trial basis, and may not even come to full fruition. I decided to stop entertaining other people’s inquiries about my life’s trajectory. I decided to take things one at a time, and live what strain may come with change on a day-by-day basis.
I decided, again, that for this one month of 30 days–that’s all–I was and am going to live as much in the Now as I am humanly capable of doing.
Now and again I’ve caught myself daydreaming about the future, envisioning futures for myself…All of them happy, of course. That’s fine. It has its place. When I catch myself, I just gently bring my focus back so as to avoid triggering my gremlins and their attendant existential angst because those envisioned futures are “better” than my present. I’m also trying to pay more attention to the details, and suss out the common ties amongst my daydreams so I can make note of them for later when the time does come to lay the solid groundwork to move on.
For a moment here or there, I do panic because I-don’t-have-everything-figured-out-yet-and-Oh-my-God-I’m-not-getting-any-younger! (I’m just 25 for crying out loud, and have been for just over 2 months. Statistically speaking, I have time.)
At the same time, I can feel something rising inside me. I can’t quite put it to words except to say that, at times, it feels sort of like there is a ball of glowing, golden light growing and swelling in my chest in the vicinity of my heart. It’s an energy. It’s like standing on the shore of a lake, just close enough that the water laps only at my toes. I suspect that it is from this, whatever it is, that the answers I’m looking for will come, and, to receive the answers, I’ve got to stay in the present enough to receive them.
In addition to the mysterious “something rising”, I’ve found that I enjoy simple things much more when I pay them my full attention.
For instance, last night I let myself become totally immersed in the first track of Krishna Das’s All One, “Calling from Afar”, since I got All One and The Best of Krishna Das in the mail via Amazon yesterday. It is absolutely beautiful! (If you want to listen to Krishna Das’s Flow of Grace, he has it streaming on a player on his website for free.) In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time immersed in music, and not just kirtan, recently. (It’s like water to one’s soul, you know. You’ll dry up without it.)
I’ve been eating the season’s first harvests of locally grown apples and enjoying how juicy and flavorful they are.
I’ve been taking walks and reading.
At work, I’ve been remembering to breathe and to separate out which problems are mine, which are my boss’s, which are the clients, and which of all those I can actually, reasonably be expected to do something about…All without being in a constant state of panic! (That’s quite a change. Panic occasionally breaks through, momentarily, but breathing usually blows it away like the wind does a pile of leaves.)
I hope I can sustain this for the rest of the month, and I see no reason why I can’t.
In fact, I think my month is about to get sweeter. I am starting The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life with Jamie Ridler’s book blogging group The Next Chapter tomorrow!
But, back to the Now. Now I am going to bid my laptop temporary adieu and take a long, hot shower with aromatherapy body wash. Ahhh.