A Lovely Zebra
I don’t know about you, but for myself, I must navigate the slippery slope of my own habitual behavior, day after day. And, ever so slowly, inch by inch, situation after situation, I am eking out a simple strategy that offers me the potential for choice and even possibly comfort.
Abiding myself as I am, leaning into the direction in which I choose to turn, this is the compass of my daily practice.
In this moment of Resolution, as the New Year opens to us, as we are lured into unwieldy and unrealistic commitments to ourselves, let’s get real.
How much can we expect of ourselves?
How much can we change?
For me, is it possible to rid myself of self-centered fear, that tiny, 2:15 a.m. voice that whispers, “Sure, it’s all good now, but just you wait…you are so screwed.”?
Is it possible for me to jumpstart my six-month-lethargy and visit the gym (oops, membership has elapsed) daily?
The way to ridding myself of my self-centered fear is by accepting that voice, honoring it, and choosing to lean toward faith.
The way of bringing more movement into my day is by accepting My Inner Super-Slug, blessing her, and getting to that new trainer for next Thursday’s appointment.
The way out of It, I believe, whatever the IT might be, is through It, coming into relationship with the It, chunking behavior change down to manageable next steps.
Tiny nibbles of change.
My most effective and comforting tool for doing this is repetition.
When the 2:15 a.m. voice gets louder, when she demands my attention with more fervor, more insistence, repeating prayer or mantra tethers me to neutrality.
It returns me to choice. It quiets me.
When I feel overwhelmed with my couch-potato-ness, convinced I will never leave the house again, that pre-sunset, 4:00 walk (you know, when the light in the day slants and softens with such magical brilliance), springboards me outside, onto the trail, down to the lake, for just a little movement, just a little air.
Repetition, patterns, consistency.
Oh, that so works for me.
Do you know this poem, by William James Lampton, the American author, who, by the way, was Mark Twain’s cousin? He says:
Same old pair of slippers
Same old bowl of rice
Same old glimpse of paradise
Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the sanctity of chopping wood and carrying water, those human tasks that offer us a doorway to divinity.
Kripalu Yoga on and off the mat offers us the human moment as the doorway to the grace within.
It’s not about changing the human moment—damn it!
It’s about accepting it.
This journey is not about self-improvement.
It’s about self-acceptance.
And from that place of neutrality and non-judgment, using our will rightly will change the brain, the body, and behavior.
Choice by choice.
And—here’s the kicker—it’s different for everybody!
For me, repetition and patterns diffuse my anxiety.
We each must discover our own tethers, our own return to non-judgmental awareness.
Oscar Wilde, bless that little rascal, said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
Obviously, Oscar and I would not be buddies.
What about you?
What works for you?
What is your mode of return?
I am captivated by the picture of the Zebra. Her patterns of beauty, each hair woven together into the tapestry of that stunning animal’s pelt, is breathtaking to me.
I choose to envision my behavior, each choice a thread, a hair, that comes together, woven in the bigger picture with harmony, synchronicity, and grace.
May all our actions be woven into the tapestry of lives.
May we breathe compassionate non-judgment into our day, one breath at a time.
May we hold ourselves with hands that are steadied.
Dear Folks, I hope January is unfolding ease-fully for you. What did you receive from this blog? What tools do you use for return to non-judgmental neutrality? Keep me posted. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.