Much of life is filled with commonplace routine. I don’t mean that as a negative statement, but as a fact. In order to live amongst other like-minded humans in a society, we abide by certain rules that make life a little ordinary. The beauty of life, the happiness of mind are available underneath it all. If we can see a beautiful sunset on the crazy drive home; enjoy the sound of birdsong while getting ready earlier in the morning than we’d like; breathe with intention even though the body breathes for us; If we can do these simple things, we can discover beauty, which settles our minds by taking us out of the banal and into a creative space, where passions can be discovered and sought out.
Prioritizing the steps needed to pay bills, take care of family, help friends, etc. is valuable, but there’s space in between the have-to list and there’s space before and after it that we have to take for the sake of our happiness! I’d like to offer a meditation that takes you through the process of getting to this more awake mindset without feeling guilty that you aren’t doing something else.
Find a comfortable seat or lay down. Track your breath for 1-2 minutes. Breathe in for 4 and out for 4, just to get a steady flow and to awaken the body-mind connection. Then, let that breath soften until it stabilizes on its own. Close your eyes and let the brain do what it wants (which is probably to list all the things you “should” be doing right now). Let it go until it has nothing more to say, or until a few minutes have passed. Acknowledge that those things are not your priority now; that it’s okay to let them go and to focus on your own wellbeing; that without health and happiness, you cannot complete the list successfully or efficiently. Bring to mind what you enjoy doing (It counts even if you rarely get to do it). Brush away thoughts of regret over not doing these activities more frequently. Continue to let them arise. When you can’t think of anymore, be still and wait a little longer to open up to any lingering desires. Do not judge what comes up. Let it all ascend from the depths of the mind and body so that you may address it. Then sit with that list (if it makes you feel better to write it down, take a pause and write the list now). Turn your attention to creative solutions to these activities – How can you make them more prominent in your life? Do you know people who would like to participate in these activities with you (for instance, kids like art – why not do art projects side by side if that’s your passion)? Do you have any ideas that need further developing? If so, mull them over. Let the creative juices flow and don’t stop them. Open up your mind and heart (physically and energetically) to whatever clever insights may arise. Some of it will be of use and some won’t. That’s ok. If you like to write things down, write down your ideas once your brain has come back to stillness. Finally, give yourself permission to be creative and passionate. What else do we live for? Let yourself love and be loved. Allow yourself freedom to find time to do the things that make you tick. Otherwise, you will stop ticking and it will all become mundane. Offer yourself 5+ rounds of Loving Kindness Meditation (Repeat: May I be well; May I be peaceful and at ease; May I be happy). Let your mind and body rest in Corpse Pose for 5+ minutes – easy breath, easy body, easy mind. Finish your practice by sitting up tall and bowing into your light.
Brandee is a yoga teacher at Siesta Yoga. One of her favorite classes to teach is a monthly passive yoga class called Essential Restorative, in which she explores topics like this through breathing, meditation, and physical relaxation. It is “essential” for the body to calm down, for us to embrace what is going on right now instead of rushing through it and on to the next thing. We must feel what’s going on in order to heal, her teacher says. It is also “essential” because class includes the use of aromatherapy through essential oils. Next up: February 14 – Awakening Your Passions (more info).