Just the other day I realized I rarely recognize opportunity as it is unfolding. Not rushing to label opportunity and put it in its box is a lifelong pattern and a beneficial one at that. It may be that not labeling any moment is what allows us to be most mindful and, thus, most present in our lives.
Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.
The mere act of being invigorates us whether the energy we are feeling is familiar or seems a spark, strange and unknown. Regardless, the energy of each moment is unique, unattached, not ever having presented in quite the same way. All we have to do is let go of preconceived notions. That is the nature of being.
In the past few weeks I have had a lot of practice with just being. Although I have been more overwhelmed than not, I discovered an underlying energy I was sure I no longer had, a gift bright and shiny but an awakening as well as a remembering. Simultaneously, the energy I am experiencing is new and old so it is not surprising that I lurched a bit, trying to rely on past experience when all I had to do was just be and not be anything.
Regular readers of this blog know I have benefited from a diet of whole foods as well as a regular yoga and meditation practice. Regarding the diet, I am entering my fourth year of low sugar, low starch, lots of leafy, green vegetables and gluten-free grains; for the last year and a half, I have meditated at least six days a week and usually daily; I am approaching the six month mark of a regular yoga practice, which is all but daily.
I am now realizing a steady energy from this combination of diet, meditation, and yoga. However wonderful it is, there is even more. A professional opportunity is within my grasp, one I could not have imagined.
Amazingly, rather than greeting the opportunity mindfully—just being who I am–I relied on well-worn behaviors of the person I was. I fell into old patterns and not surprisingly, I started feeling physically and emotionally drained yet it was not a full lupus or Sjogren’s flare-up. Not at all.
It was as if I did not trust the person I am now. I knew I was being given more than a chance to contribute substantially to improving lives of animals; I was being given a chance to be a member of a professional team again.
Rather than being invigorated, I held opportunity at bay. I was so afraid of failing and at the same time I was so sure of succeeding. Then, I “recognized what was going on” as Pema Chödrön would say:
When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is part of our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else?… And when we can’t practice when distracted but know that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of
compassionately recognizing what’s going on.
It is early days in adding this professional world to my online writing life but that I am able to venture into that world is one of the greatest opportunities of my later life. And yes, autumn—my favorite season—overflows with gratitude for this unknown, emerging life. Such is the mere act of being.