Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday, Meditation

This morning, the Matron woke to the realization that tomorrow ushers in this type of work week:  52 research paper rough drafts, 11 creative writing portfolios, and 100 short answer questions.   

It's also Tech Week, with previews starting Tuesday and opening night, Friday.  The Matron's house was in need of a brisk cleaning (the Matron suffers from Incurable Clutter Brain Suck so this is serious).  Conveniently, Merrick woke up with a 102 degree fever.  

Then, there was that darn implant, requiring Constant Surveillance--the Uterus/Gravity/Bladder complaint--and the apparantly endless saga about the burned throat, which is STILL a bother.

Can you say grumpy?  Stress Queen?  Chugga, chugga.   She felt like bursting an artery or throwing a trantrum.  Maybe both.

So that daily morning run felt, well, vital.   Off she went, into the morning with headphones ready, set, . . . rats, phooey.     While  sane people listen to music, the Matron listens to NPR, the talk version, ALL THE TIME.   Even while jogging.  But today's timing meant she had to listen to Krista Tippett and Speaking of Faith.

Now, this annoyed the Matron.   The demands of her day and travails of her body had put her in an escapist sort of spirit; she was all about entertainment, not engagement.     So she puckered all sour and was about to flip the switch when she suddenly heard Jon Kabbat-Zinn mention mindfulness.

She listened the whole run.

Here is the BIG take away.   

One day, you will greet your real self.  This self?  Textured, rich.  Experiencing life on a moment-by-moment basis.   Your real self is engaged with all of her senses, full-throttle.   She vibrates and hums, joyful to be here--life!  Sweet, sweet life.  Your real self has time.  She is intimately aware of, and living in,  the infinite spaciousness of the mind.  She understands that life is such a precious, swift-moving gift that you'd be a fool not to savor every minute.

The kicker?  You can meet this self as soon as possible, start opening the door to introduce her -- or you can meet her the day that you/she dies.  

You choose.

And those physical problems that we all moan about (especially her, these days?).  Zabbat-Zin wondered:  are you dead yet? No?   Then there's at least some working body to build on.  What's working well?  Where are your body's strengths?  Place your energy there, instead.  

Now, when she heard this, you could've knocked over the Matron with a toothpick--she was that weak in the knees.  Because just on Friday, she taught a one-time yoga class to a group of her fellow community college instructors.  And she was all groovy and zen and said this:  "The key to any posture is maximizing your base of support.  Don't focus on where you're wobbling or what hurts.  Bring your attention to your strengths, to the parts of the body that are holding you up.  Focus on growing that strength and the weakness fall away."

Thank you, Jon Zabbat-Zinn for reminding her!  

He also said this about suffering--we suffer so much because we think life should go on as usual, however usual or normal or painfree or typical is for us.   Then something happens --that phone call or the diagnosis or the injury  -- and we're thrown, kicking and screaming -- into something worse.

Well guess what, folks.  That is ALWAYS going to happen.  Suffering is an unavoidable part of life.  Change is inevitable and some change will be good, others, bad.   The trick is how you'll respond.  With grace, dignity and an open heart or kicking and screaming?  Zabbatt-Zinn pointed out that the calamaties that pain us can be as big as a cancer diagnosis or as small as a pokey four-year old, unable to decide upon just the right dress.   You can rage that the problem exists ("HURRY UP" or "I cannot have cancer!") or you can experience your interaction with the unpleasantness and just allow that to exist--while you find your footing on those great big wonderful strengths.

Zabatt-Zinn is a doctor who treats people dying or in chronic pain:  "The only people I can't help are dead.  For everybody still breathing.  Wow.  There are so many goodies."

The rest of the run, the Matron reveled in the power of lung and leg.  At home, she paused to consider how she could secure her base--strength--for the demanding week ahead.  She stood alone in the middle of her kitchen, genuinely considering her strengths and how to put them in place.

And she rolled up her sleeves and got busy, breathing.  She's still alive!  Someday she won't be.  She doesn't want to wait until that last minute to greet her real self.  

 The house is in order, email caught up, classes all prepped.  This afternoon she caught up on laundry and cancelled unnecessary tasks in the week ahead.   She made sure that Merrick was always comfy and that 80% of the time, he had a Mama or Daddy to snuggle against.  The other 20% is why there are big brothers.   The house is clean enough.  She's organized.  

Yes, the week will be nonstop and contain much work, driving and drama.  Those 50 plus rough drafts won't go away.  There's nothing she can do to change the external forces.

But she can continue to open the door toward her real self, sooner.   Beats the other option, hands down.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Good for you.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Oh yes, it does.

MJ said...

Thanks for the reminder. Your post encouraged me to post about my spiritual encounter last week!

Kelly said...

Godspeed good woman!

Michele Renee said...

What a good reminder. My takeaway: you are good to yourself for going for a run to begin with.

Mayberry Magpie said...

I heard the same interview and was mesmerized. I imagine a good many listeners had a similar WOW moment. Thanks for synthesizing the interview and reminding me.

(And thank you for spelling the fellow's name! I kept thinking Cabbot-Zen and wondering if I'd find him in a google search.)

Tammy said...

Excellent post once again, Matron.

Lynda said...

As always, I enjoy your posts...thank you :)

Mrs. G. said...

You know, today was the perfect day to read this. Thank you.

Kelley said...

Love your posts over at The Women's Colony, and this one was just what I needed to read today. Thanks!

ephelba said...

When I read your posts about your Sangha and posts like these it makes me cry. Of the three refuges, right now I feel like all I've got is Buddha. I'm so pleased to have found your writing, so I can have a Sangha/Dharma refuge vicariously.