Increasingly, curiosity gets me through difficult moments, especially when equanimity seems impossible or at least incredibly difficult.
I start with the small stuff. Like when I begin my day. That may be at 4 AM or 10 AM. The issue is not the clock but that my day begins. There was a time that if I had not meditated or completed my yoga practice by a certain time, my day was doomed.
Who knows what I missed on all those “doomed” days.
Some time ago, I began practicing “a routine of no routine.” I had no idea what that might mean but I decided to let curiosity lead–no matter what.
Working with the day I have and not the day I planned is as much a discipline as is meditation and yoga. More often than not, I accomplish more. Rescheduling is less necessary. I open myself to different ways of accomplishing a task.
Curiosity gives me that creativity. And it requires my complete presence. It is more than not pouring coffee in my oatmeal. It is appreciating that preparing coffee and oatmeal is each its task.
Staying within the frame of my day—each moment its own scene–keeps me from being daunted by the obstacle that is that day’s path. Mine is not to ignore but to immerse myself in the experience.
It is the small stuff that enlarges my awareness.
I think less and complete more. Even when revelation drops in, I do not attach to it. I notice but I do not engage. Revelation, like every other thought, returns.
There was a time—not long ago–I would have rushed to capture revelation on screen or with a recorder. Who knows what would’ve become of my coffee or the oatmeal.
I was so afraid of losing the brilliance of one thought who knows how many others passed. Each in its time.
So, yes, it’s the small stuff even in days of cold sunshine. For me, these are days when the temperature is low and there is a stiff breeze. There is so much light but it is a cold one.
Physically, it is difficult. I am immediately aware that the roller coaster is mine to ride or not. I can rage or sink into the slough of despond. I aim for somewhere between the two.
Sometimes, I skate on the slough, my mind frozen in attachment. A solitary thought plays over and over as the ego skates freely on the mind that is fatigued. Still, time thaws all thought, no matter how dark.
It is the way of life on this planet, in this physical dimension, that we know darkness. I’m not sure that’s without its purpose. Each day ends in darkness only to dawn again. It is not all light all at once.
For me, a sliver is sufficient. There is just enough joy in it. Like light, not much is needed. As Brene Brown says, “Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience.”
Joy is a peaceful resistance to any action that adds pain and suffering anywhere to anyone including me. When I learn through joy, I cease to struggle (Sarah Ban Breathnach ).
Pema Chödrön says trusting in our “fresh, unbiased nature” is all we need to do.
At the beginning joy is just a feeling
that our own situation is workable.
We stop looking for a
more suitable place to be.
(The Places That Scare You, Chödrön, 2009)
When we work with the reality we have, we find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It takes practice. Start with the small stuff. Trust your gut.