|Can You See The Fallen Trees?|
As the winded revved up to 72 kmph we were treated to the flashes, beeps and sqeals from the digital phone and the itouch dancing to the power surges. It was strangely festive! By 7 am my thoughts turned to coffee and aiming to head that power failure off at the caffeinated pass, I set foot in the kitchen just as the power failed with a definite air of finality. There were two sounds to the wind now, a deep underlying drone that cradled a higher pitched wooshing in the trees. By 10 am two trees had uprooted themselves and the property was littered with a carnage of naturally pruned tree bits.
|View from the front door Do I want to go out there?|
Still we were reasonably warm (I wrapped in a blanket), fire glowing in the wood stove, leftover coffee reheated on the gas range. And still the mind could turn to stories of when is the power going to come on? Last year it was out for 3 days during the snow, and no shower now, and, and and. But I have been working with training this puppy dog mind of mine and instead I savoured the slowness of the morning start, my daughter's fine company as we sipped coffee in the bright sunroom, no computer screens to stare at, no work to preoccupy us.
It was a good time to snuggle up on the couch and read so I pulled out my notes from the "Awakening Joy" Course I am taking again (you guessed it I failed last time, ha!) and reminded myself about the importance of setting and renewing my intention during the day. Otherwise the mind simply seeks it's default setting, whatever that might be for us. What do I really want to do? What is my highest and best intention for this phone conversation, this interaction, this painting session?
|Nature's Spring Pruning|
As a self confessed aversive type I am much more likely to hunker down in my blanky and worry about conserving my body heat and wondering when the heck are they gonna get that power back on, they're not that reliable and blah, blah, blah, blah. But who is the biggest loser in this little complainfest? Always me. I have the pleasure (or displeasure) of my own company. So as a lover of harmony and tidiness I am intent on cleaning up my mind's backyard. Are there little plastic bags for that?? It is actually kind of fun to catch myself and wonder now what could I think instead?
So these are the things I've been working with. I like to keep it simple. While my mind is a messy workplace, it is also a tad on the simple side. I keep renewing my intention to cultivate states of well-being and appreciation in my life. And when I get myself in a funk of worry or fear or whatever other longstanding mind habit pops up, I try to remember to be kind and compassionate to myself. I remember Gil's response at a retreat where I became aware of the steady diet of fear in my mind. He asked, if you found a small child that was afraid, what would you say, how would you treat them? This is how we want to treat those tender, vulnerable spots in ourselves, with understanding and gentleness, a hug, a pep talk and maybe a lollypop.
It is important to remember that old habits take time to change. I remember my Zen teacher talking about "chipping away" at our old habits or challenges. As we build these new habits, miraculous things happen. The brain actually changes, weakening the old neural pathways of unhelpful habits and forging new, more wholesome ones that we are seeding. While Buddhism acknowledges the suffering that exists in this world, it is important to remember that becoming more mindful and acquainted with the teachings will help us incline our minds toward the well-being and peace that is always there for us.
So whether its the weather or your work or your family, you always have a choice in how you respond to what life brings to your doorstep. What is your recipe for lemonade?