Honoring Rhythms and Cycles

My world has slowed right down.

It’s January. The craziness of the holiday season is over, I’ve finished the rounds visiting friends and family and I can finally sit here in my PJ’s, relax and enjoy. We’ve had about 25 cms of fresh snow over the last two days, and it’s a wonderful excuse to stay home. Sure, I can get out easily in my SUV with great winter tires, but just because I can doesn’t mean I have to. In fact, I don’t even want to.  At least not today.

Winter is a time for stillness, for letting everything settle down and move more slowly. I’m not saying life should stop dead, only that we should take a clue from all the animals hibernating. If we don’t fly south to escape, it’s natural to have an impulse to hide away from everything, at least for a little while.

The whole crazy holiday thing becomes even more stressful because it takes place in winter.  When you add in bad weather, the inevitable colds and flus, lack of sunshine and the innate desire to slow day on cold days it’s no wonder it’s a stressful time.  But people power through it, out of internal and external obligations.

I for one, am glad that I can finally honor my natural rhythm, and rest. Stay a little quieter for just a little while. It’s a completely natural process to have ebbs and flows of energy in your life. It’s a cyclical process, just like the seasons and it’s ok to give into the urge to curl up by the fire-place, ( or in my case, on the couch under a blanket) and put off the to do list for a little while.

I’m using the snow as an excuse. I don’t really need one, but I’ll gladly take it if it’s there.

 

 

 

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Flowing with Tao

One of my favorite spiritual stories  is the tale of an old  Taoist farmer who had worked his crops for many years.

One day his horse ran away.

Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “We’ll see,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “We’ll see,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “We’ll see,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “We’ll see,” said the farmer.

This story illustrates the Taoist philosophy of allowing life to happen. Flowing with it, rather than fighting it and allowing things to be, without excessive rumination, thought, or planning.  One of the things I have taken to heart is the reminder that no matter how bad an event might seem, something good may come of it.  You don’t know where it will lead you.

I broke my own leg at the end of February last year.  I couldn’t work for 2 months, and on the surface, it sucked (obviously). But it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I learned so much from the experience.  I was fortunate enough to realize it for what it was at the time. An opportunity for learning, introspection and to change directions.  This blog is a direct result of that injury. A series of timely coincidences and opportunities lead me to start writing for a now defunct blog, (and I actually got paid to do so). That experience boosted my confidence in my writing skills while I was planning and plotting out this blog.

I learned other invaluable lessons that I’ll write about in a future post, but the most important one really was to appreciate whatever life throws at me, because it is always an important lesson, and it will most likely lead me in directions I couldn’t even imagine.

From taoistic.com

Patience is a virtue I’m slowly cultivating

It’s definitely a work in progress. I find that the older I get, the more patient I tend to be. Unless I’m tired, or hungry. Then I have about as much patience as a 3-year-old.

I’m incredibly grateful that my partner has the patience of a saint and that he has the wisdom to understand when it’s necessary for me to be patient in order to stay sane. I am also incredibly grateful he is patient with me when I am not patient with myself, and that he is willing to point it out. Sometime I need someone to tell me when I’m frustrated that the only thing I can do, is be patient.

I grew up in the microwave/MTV/internet generation. I understand intellectually that sometimes things take time, but I’m really not all that used to waiting.

I  tend to be a problem solver, and I’m someone people turn to when they need help with their own problems. I believe that we create our own realities, for the most part. We create our own subjective experiences and we ultimately choose our own destiny. Because of this belief, and my ability to orchestrate and choreograph most of what I want out of life, sometimes I forget that for somethings only time will help. This spring when I broke my ankle, I was immersed in a situation that could only improve with time. Lots of lessons were learned, including many about patience.

I  have found that the most effective way for me to be patient, is to live in the moment.

When you stay in the present, you aren’t looking forward to the future, so there is nothing to be impatient about.

When you are trying to escape from one moment, into a future one when you think things will be better, you can’t help but be impatient.

But there is no way to speed up time (well, not in this dimension anyway). There is no way to skip forward into the moment you want, so really all the wanting and wishing and impatience is just a sadistic form of masochism. You’re torturing yourself for no good reason.

Peace lies in the acceptance of the present moment. It’s all you have, so you may as well savor it. Time will pass, regardless of how patient or impatient we are.

It’ll just feel like longer when you impatiently try to rush towards something else.