My meditation teacher Swami Chidvilasananda said many years ago, "If you wait, you wait forever." Being a great procrastinator, I was miffed by this comment, saying to myself: I get stuff done eventually, I don't understand what she means.
I get it now; waiting is a position, an attitude to life that goes beyond any single task or action.
I've always seen myself as someone who prefers to be in the background. Defaulting to lying low, keeping the peace, seeing what happens, encouraging others to take the lead. It is a curling over the heart, not an opening of it. I've worked hard to accept but also to balance that tendency. Often it comes from a fear of making mistakes, of being "wrong", of standing out. Unchallenged, these traits will lead me to becoming "old". I know this in my bones.
When I see someone who looks "old", what is it that gives that impression? It's not white hair or how the skin looks. To me is how well someone moves and what their vitality level is.
Vitality is expressed through extension, "uprightness" and ease of movement in the body, focus and discernment in the mind and openness of the heart.
In meditation class earlier this week we talked about sitting upright so that there is an easy, wakeful attention of the body. In this way the body doesn't disturb the mind but acts as a foundation for exploration of it. Like playing with a kite or balloon in the summer breeze, you need to hold onto the string to have a connection to what is happening above, but reel it in too much and there is no floating, no freedom. There is a vitality, a dynamic, in the counter play of the ballon, the string, and the hand that holds it.
There is a flow of energy, (one could say awareness, prana, lifeforce, attention, etc) that runs vertically from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. There is also a downward descending flow from the crown through the base of the spine and into the earth (gravity). In the middle of this is the breath and the heart. The energy is meant to flow through the heart, not stop in it. The breath is not something to hold.
So back to waiting. I can see how much waiting for the "right time" has cost me. Nursing past hurts, listing my faults, ruminating over what could be if only.....), yeah it's a painful place. And a waste of precious time. Makes one wonder why I did it. Do you ever do this? Well, it takes some courage to lift one's heart into the rawness of the present moment. Much safer to hold it close and let it out only if the coast is clear. It took me a while to find the courage. But this courage isn't once and done. It's a constant choice, a reminder to seize the day, a plea from the higher self to make the most of this brief time. A reminder that at the moment of our final exhale this lifetime will feel like it does when we walk out of an engaging movie and come back to "reality".
Practicing "not waiting" is something that I can fail at and I'm still better off for trying.
What are some times you can think of where you did the unexpected, you plunged right in, you took the leap?
- I could have waited another five years to leave my old relationship and not have the love I share now with Katie, or to look in the eyes of our two boys...
- And when I proposed to her I could have waited for another moment when we weren't in the midst of trying to find and then report the theft of her purse, and passport...the day before she was supposed to fly back home.
- I could have waited to try out for a local rock band until I learned their songs (and how to sing them ;-) But that musical fail led me to find what did feed my soul musically, to form a band with my great friend.
- I could have waited (been "sensible") to be more financially secure instead of buying property in Costa Rica, but now we have that and one thing leads to another...we are now leading a yoga retreat on that same piece of coastline.
- Waiting never got me to the yoga mat or doing chin-ups. Waiting never got me out the door to play tennis or go for a run.
- Waiting never put me in new (read: uncomfortable) positions where I learned new things, accessed inner resources, expanded possibilities, opened doorways...
-So we invite you to join us in this practice of not waiting. To say yes to the things that satisfy your soul, that call to your heart, that give you a little thrill of excitement, the call of the unexpected, the joy of breaking new ground. Because that is where vitality is. That's where flow is. Whatever that may be for you we support you in that. That's what Tuning Tree is all about.