It’s One of Those Days… Again
How a simple practice can make my day
I woke up today to a house without electricity. Outside it’s raining. It’s grey and cloudy. Has been already for what seems like an eternity. The energy feels overall quite oppressive.
I’m feeling a bit sluggish and slow to start.
My wise part is saying: “Go and do your practice, you will feel better’.
My body is saying: “No! Give me coffee, give me time, let me sit on the couch first. It’s too fast all of it. I’m stiff and tense, don’t push me!”
My Ego is saying: “Gosh, you are behind with so much of your stuff, better check your phone and get started with it all! Quick, if you work really hard today and tick all the things of the list, you might feel good about yourself at the end of the day. Or at least feel a sense of relief.”
That was at 8 am in the morning. Now it’s 5 pm and I’m sitting in front of the computer with my levels of frustration and dissatisfaction rising by the minute. I’m getting distracted by each thought and I can’t seem to string together one focused action.
My mind keeps convincing me that it’s just that ONE next thing (like writing that email, I’ve put off forever or watching that important thing on youtube, etc.) and THEN I will go outside and bring myself into alignment. But it feels like I’m hooked into a spin of distracting energy and I just can’t get myself out of it. I’m totally hooked into the vortex of my Ego, it’s like I’m in trance.
Now it’s 7 pm. Where did the last two hours go? I honestly don’t know. I thought I was ‘DOING’ stuff, but there is no feeling of gratification or accomplishment or that elusive sense of promised relief from this morning to show for it.
Finally, it’s 9 pm, I’m tired and it’s like at this hour of the day I can finally give myself permission to let myself off the hook. I’m sitting down to meditate. What I get confronted with is the discomfort of my incoherent energy.
The restlessness of mind that had me in its grip all day makes me feel so … ‘afflicted’. I first become aware of the tension that my body is holding onto. Wow! Poor body!
Breathe in and Breathe out with a sigh of relief. My energy is starting to settle down. I can observe what is happening to me rather than being totally identified with it. What a relief.
Ok, there is a slight sensation of improvement. The discomfort is not unbearable anymore.
Being with the discomfort of running around in circles all day is better than trying to get away from it.
I’m finally able to connect with my being and presence. Actually my heart. I feel a sense of sadness for having wasted a day. I am also becoming aware of the critical part in me that is chastising myself for not having had the necessary determination to stop before I had started ‘the spin’.
I hear the voice of my meditation teacher repeating in my head like a mantra: ‘Open and willing to let go. Leave everything as it is’.
I am amazed at myself: Wow, how strong is our addiction to ‘self’ and our ‘to do list’, how strong our aversion to stillness and just ‘being’. Is this how I normally spend my days? Chasing after the elusive carrot of accomplishment?
If there was a definition of madness, that would be it, really. We run around in circles, so convinced that what we are doing is of major significance, never stopping to take a breath and just check in with ourselves. Never stopping to feel what is moving inside and where we want to focus our intention.
Another teacher of mine says:
If you are at war with your mind you will be at war forever
I get it. It’s what I felt I was doing all day, trying to outsmart my ego’s momentum with, well, my ego. It obviously didn’t work. Only stillness does, and I already know that, but I still keep forgetting.
It’s groundhog day all over again. But today I managed to wake up, listen to the resistance of my mind, smile at it with kindness and compassion, and sit down to meditate first thing in the morning.
I’m connecting with my being, formulating an intention for the day to stay connected to my joy, aliveness, and presence.
Already, I’m smiling. Next comes the activation of my body. For that, I love QiGong, even though my restless mind still tries to distract me away from it. After half an hour I feel awake and alive. My body is buzzing and the way I like it to feel. I am ready for the day.
My mind is clear and focused. I feel I’m connected to my Self (capital S). I have access to my enjoyment of life. I can sit still in front of my ‘to-do-list’ and make choices based on the connection to my core. What’s clutter and noise and what does truly want and need to get done? Where is my aliveness? What lights me up?
I’m in a space of listening and receptivity. The biggest difference to yesterday is that my diaphragm feels less contracted, my breath is deeper and smoother. I give myself space to feel. In this space, I feel I’m surrounded by this subtle field of ‘well-being’ or love. It’s subtle and yet nevertheless tangible. It’s, I guess, what they call ‘the inner smile’.
I feel impulses of inspiration and it’s easy to act on them. I am more available to the messages that are coming through on the phone. They don’t seem to be so overwhelming anymore. My heart is more willing to connect and share empathically. I have more presence every half an hour to get up, stretch my body and move!
Gosh, that feels good! Mhmmmm!!!
Sometimes we get so hard on ourselves having a ‘bad’ day or being unproductive. We also get caught in the trap of believing that if we start running harder the next day, we will be able to get it done better. Yet it’s so much simpler (but not necessarily easier) to first stop and align ourselves.
I’m still learning, but the more I do it, the more natural it feels and the more my system craves it. So to all of you, who sometimes get sucked in the vortex of ‘running around in circles and doing’, I hope you can find a practice that works for you, to simply stop, take a breath and reset. To align with your being-ness and to forgive yourself for the times you have forgotten.
Life is like being on a rodeo horse that’s smothered with Vaseline. To expect that you don’t fall off it at least 10 times a day is insane.
So be kind to yourself and find a way that nourishes you into coming back to yourself.