Saturday, July 28, 2012

Inside my "Monkey Mind"

You've heard the saying, 'be wary, the monkey mind'...

Ah, "Monkey Mind" ~ those rapid fire thoughts that zap right through our soul at always the least opportune of times, and generally when we're most trying to find our zen. As I have gotten a little older, and a little more settled into *me* ~ I've found my way to peace with Mr. Monkey Mind. Generally, things work out pretty well ~ I allow him to enter only when I *need* the comedy and distraction. We've fairly clear rules on the matter ~ though occasionally, Mr. Monkey Mind will forget our "code" (he's a bit that way, you see) and launch into his freakishly, scampery sort of internal dialogue with my soul. 

I had thought I had found a place of solace in the sanctuary of my Bikram studio ~ relying on the intense heat, and extreme fatigue to keep his chattering at bay. Alas, the stench and heat are no match for a bored monkey with a good story to tell... 

And so it goes, I arrive to my mat with intention set to Pranayama... ready to zen. What follows is a true account, as true as can be, of the inner dialogue between me and Mr. Monkey Mind. 

*deep breath*

"Hey... "

*ignore, breathe*

"Hey... HEY.... HELLO... HEY???"

*sweat, breathe, sweat, ignore*

"Kinda hot in here, yeah? How come it's so hot in here? Can you breathe ok? Looks like you're having a hard time breathing... you shouldn't breathe so hard, you'll pass out... do you feel like you're going to pass out, you sure are sweating like you're going to pass out. Look in the mirror before you pass out... wow, you sure are sweating... oh, my God... look at that guy over there... what's that on his foot? I hope that's not fungus. It LOOKS like fungus. Fungus is contagious. You could get fungus from him. Better not touch anything. I wonder how often they clean the floor in here. Doesn't smell like they've cleaned in a LONG while. Is that a pregnant lady in the front row?? Showoff. She's not sweating as much as you. How come you're breathing harder than her? Is that normal? Maybe cause of the baby. No, that wouldn't have anything to do with it. Boy, it sure is hot in here..."

*breathe. sweat, drip, sweat, gasp, gasp, spin, breathe*

"Maybe you ought to have some water, no? Sure is hot in here. What's that smell? Is it supposed to smell like that in here? Maybe it's that guy with the feet.. sure is hot in here. Wonder why they keep it so hot in here? Did you just almost slip? I don't think you're supposed to sweat this much. Did you wear deodarant? Someone forgot to wear deodarant. Wow, look at that pregnant lady move. She's really good. Why aren't you that good? You sure do sweat a lot. Maybe you should have some water? Doesn't that hurt? How much longer will we be here? Look at those mirrors, that's pretty neat. You sure are a lot bigger than some of those other gals up front. Maybe that why you're sweating so much? More to move, I guess. Hey, you ok? Why are you sitting down? Nobody else is sitting down ~ not even the pregnant lady in that front row."

*deep, breath, stretch, twist, gasp, gasp, stretch*

"How much longer? Isn't it time to go? What should we have for dinner? Didn't you wear that last time? Oh my GOD it's hot in here. We should just leave.. come on, I'll buy you a smoothie. Whoa, that guy needs new shorts...those don't fit so well. How can you *not* stare at that the WHOLE time. Is it time to go? I wonder if the kids are ok... you know, something HORRIBLE could be happening to them RIGHT NOW... and here you are, with your cell phone off. IRRESPONSIBLE. We should the kids... and LEAVE. Oh, my God... that's a cute top. I wonder where she got that top? You should have worn something different... maybe something to whisk the sweat away. I dunno, you might have to contact NASA for something like that.. with all the sweating you do. I wonder if that foot guy is married? You *really* look awful. How come the mirrors don't steam up? Maybe it's a two way mirror - could be recording, let's hope not because I think your boob mighta popped out on that last move.."

And that was just the warm up...

Ah, Monkey Mind ~ my most powerfully, playful nemesis... I love/hate you... but couldn't you come back during a lengthy office meeting?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A little light please?

I had the most amazing dream this past night, and, as it is with most of my dreams ~ upon awakening, I took my long, deep stretch to pause and reflect, to wonder what ‘messages’ were contained within and carried here ‘just for me' by this, our most curious universe.  Sometimes, I’ll just smile, and sigh, and laugh along — reminded in the most gentle of ways, to not ever take this life quite so very seriously, and to hold fast this most childlike ‘open eyed wonderment’ view of this world and all of the things within it.
And yet, every so often a dream shall come along which will cause me to pause and reflect and wonder a bit beyond my normal bedside stretch. It’s in these moments, the dreamer inside of me (and I believe inside of us all, for that matter) sounds his silent alarm - letting me know, that this is a dream worth noting.
I had fallen asleep on my couch, of all places — it seems the best dreams are those had in the most uncomfortable of positions. I drifted off deeply in the time it took for that final sigh of the day.
And just like that, in that moment, I slipped into the most wonderful sleep, which carried me to the most beautiful dream, which in turn carried me back home to the very spot I had spent so many hours trying to ignore the most urgent calls of my Mother pleading for me to come back in for that day. My hearing, it seems, hasn’t improved much over these years. I still suffer from momentary deafness.
So in my dream, I was walking along the stream behind our house. It was just dusk, and you could feel the cool night air, hurrying along the mugginess of the earlier day, pushing it along as if to say ‘Come on now, let’s hurry it up.” The water was so ice cold against my bare feet - I could even feel the soft clay squishing between my toes. I closed my eyes — it was as if I was just right there again soaking it all in, just as I had for so many years, all those many years ago. You know how when you are really “in” a moment — that your body takes this pause, as if to say, “Wait… this we mustn’t miss” as it draws in that long, slow deep breath?
In my dream, I could feel that very breath filling my lungs almost to a point I am sure they would have nearly exploded. And, as I exhaled, and opened my eyes – I suddenly felt so very small. And just as I had grown accustomed to that very “Alice-y” sort of change, I sensed he was there. And almost too afraid to look, for fear that it might not be true — instead, I slipped my hand right into his. I could feel all of those old rough, calluses that only come through the hardest work, building the biggest dreams. And just as it had so many years before, my hand fit so very perfectly — almost as if the universe had created just that space for a hand so small as mine. As we stood there looking out over this most overgrown property, I turned my head, and looked up to him and asked, so matter of factly (and much to my much younger self’s character), “So, where ya been?” He just looked down and smiled and said, “I’ve been right here, all along.”
In my life, I have always felt we are most blessed not by our accomplishments, but rather, through the people we meet along our way. For sometimes destiny will bring to us that one spirit, whose simple presence will forever change our weary world. 
And in that single moment, and as ridiculous as this may sound or seem — I felt as if all the fear and uncertainty that was buried deep inside of me was washing away in that ice cold stream at my feet, as if it were being gently tugged away - leaving a calm, clear ‘knowing’ in its place.
Did you ever have a dream so beautiful that you wished you could bookmark that entry point and go back just any time you ever wished? But, I think some dreams are meant for a higher purpose, and designed to give us a little light along the way. These are the most special dreams of all, as they sometimes only come when our minds have just grown too very tired along the way to give much struggle or fight.
So, on this day my dream has left something amazing in my heart — a reminder, that sometimes the best paths are those left without purpose or expectation, save for a small hope for the little things along the way that will cause us to draw a long, deep breath, as if our mind is trying its best to pause and say, “This one… this is one we must remember a little longer than all the rest”.
Dreams are sometimes just this way. Sometimes, they are a silly reminder to not take our lives so very seriously — and other times, they are there to give us a little light along our way. It’s knowing when best to be still and listen that matters most of all.

(as printed on