tennis ball

A few people may recall the mishap I experienced several years ago. One of my favorite results is the ongoing regeneration of my body. Watching its innate ability to heal is quite a magnificent process to notice. In this 4th New England winter since, I’m excited to be able to go about my day without the need for a turtleneck or scarf. The muscles in my face rarely cramp up in the cold anymore to the point where I almost forget it ever did. Each day and each year introduces ever increasing improvement.
More than six months has passed since I’ve taken up writing as a primary focus. I find it comes to me quite naturally. One thing about writing though is that once I’m sitting and settled and pecking away at the keys my butt gets stiff and sore, particularly my left hip. I also find that if I blow off doing yoga that the left hip can become a real pain, in that vicinity, if you get my drift. On the advice of my massage therapist I learned to manipulate and massage that area by using a tennis ball. I drop it onto the floor and sit on it, gliding around, rolling here rolling there, digging the ball into the most uncomfortable areas of the joint. It works like a charm and breaks up all that annoying fascia. Thank goodness for yoga though, otherwise who knows where that ball could end up.
Recently, I was with my trekking buddy and her dogs. The snow was shallow and crispy. A breeze was just coming up so my head and neck were bundled, curbing my visibility. As we descended the final hill I remarked to my friend, “I think I’m going to break out that tennis ball.” Then, step, step, step, when what to my wondering eyes should appear fifteen feet ahead but a tennis ball! It was obscured by a low lying evergreen. I yelled, “Oh look!” I saw only the top of it as the other 85% was frozen solid in the snow. Using my brand new hikers (on their maiden voyage) I kicked at the snow breaking the ball free. The epiphany sparkled and I was really excited. My very words had quickly manifested in the most literal terms. I broke out the tennis ball!
...a thought and it's there

…a thought and it’s there

UP yours

The relief is more than palpable. It is divine. It’s interesting how – when we find our behinds in a sling we always come up on a higher plane than the one we fell from. We sit UP, we get UP, we stand UP, we wind UP, turn UP, we show UP – higher thinking, higher doing, higher living – up, up, up and away and we never return to ground zero. Sometimes we mourn but then we can re-member. There is a reason for the fall. It’s to go UP. During the labor process there is progression and retraction, progression and retraction, progression and retraction. The progression is always more than the retraction. The retraction provides the traction for the progression. Sometimes we for-get and be-come stuck, bound UP and stall within the process. In life, as in labor, that lingering can be a point of contention. It cannot be tolerated for very long before there is a break to release the opposing energy. A fall is like the releasing of tectonic plates as the earth quakes. That’s all it is. With our focus we can mind UP and look UP to wherever your UP is – progression is inevitable. Energy flows where attention goes. Focus, focus, focus UP – It’s only natural.

Gap Grazing

I have many great teachers in my life. They speak of the Gap. We’ll see you in the Gap’ ‘Getting in the Gap’ and the process of ‘Closing the Gap’, what in the world are they talking about? I can tell you, it is quite different from the normal reference to bridging a gap, a generation gap, a stop gap or a clothing retailer. It relates to the Mindfulness of being more in the world than of the world.
Practice, practice, practice was an early mantra of mine. My father was a musician. His piano was a part of the family. I would often observe and ‘help’ my mother tune and maintain the instrument. Plucking the strings on the soundboard created a reverberation. (It also got me into hot water.) The Gap is the Space between the notes that make the vibration possible; it is the nano-second between the inhale and exhale; it is the pause between the tick tock; it is the turning point of the tide; it is the lag between the bump bump bump as our ABS engages. Our breathing, our heartbeat, our voice, the birds, the breeze, everything we know has a similar type of contrasting rhythm, even rays of light. It is an interval of Silence.
In Meditation our minds can go all over the place. With practice we begin to relax. We can often observe and bask and graze in this formerly elusive Gap as we calm and breathe and meditate for a few minutes every day. It is a shifting of sorts. It changes our tune. The Mindfulness I enjoy after grazing the Gap can be tough to describe. It is subtle. It translates into feelings and emotions and comprehension and ideas and fun. It sings beauty and grace. After touching and grazing the Gap I notice things with greater appreciation. Little things like being infatuated with the pureness of the water in my glass, or the feeling of elation as I unroll my yoga mat. (That snapping ‘crack’ sound really did it for me the other day.) Sometimes when I soak in the tub I block my ears and submerge them in the water. The sound of my breathing is loud and clear. Holding my breath I can hear my heartbeat. It reminds me how perfect my body is; I don’t even have to tell my heart to beat! Grazing the Gap stirs our attention. When we Meditate, stress and anxiety melt away and we’re left with pleasant satisfaction. Grazing the Gap… It’s only natural.

b r e a t h i n g science

I always thought the art of meditation was common knowledge; taking a few minutes every day to focus on our b r e a t h i n g. We can stir up much ado over little things that they seem big and out of reach. How many of you know people who b r e a t h e? How many of those b r e a t h i n g people you know are ever aware that they are b r e a t h i n g? How often are you aware that you are b r e a t h i n g? If you do a workout you may be aware that you are b r e a t h i n g, and b r e a t h i n g hard and exerting yourself and sweating and panting. What I’m talking about here is just b r e a t h i n g. Sitting quietly and comfortably and b r e a t h i n g. Generally, there is no effort involved in b r e a t h i n g. We do not consciously exert ourselves or pant or sweat while b r e a t h i n g. We make so much of this idea of meditation and b r e a t h i n g. It’s not mystical. It’s common sense.
Laymen may think ‘oh my, if science says it’s so then it must be true.’ Take science with a grain of salt. I grew up when science declared Pluto a planet. A typical statistical random sampled scientific question just tells us what something is or isn’t. For example, you have a nice green granny smith apple. Using hypothesis testing you state ‘this apple is red’. You calculate the data and it tells you ‘no, this apple is not red’ ; it is null. Results don’t say the apple is green nor that it is even an apple. It just says the apple is not red. Science is a beautiful thing but common sense reigns supreme. So, how does this relate to b r e a t h i n g?
Once you know, you can’t not Know. When we take time to focus on our b r e a t h i n g our lives improve. We don’t need our doctors to tell us to b r e a t h e. Focused b r e a t h i n g is beneficial; you will be hearing that exact prescription soon enough. The art of meditation can be simply that – b r e a t h i n g… b r e a t h i n g… b r e a t h i n g… Modern imaging is proving the brain changes affected by a meditation practice. If you are waiting for science to tell you that adopting a meditation practice offers limitless possibility then enjoy your time. You may as well b r e a t h e in the interim. Through meditation, like love, the resulting mindfulness you feel offers clarity and vision. Quit asking and start Knowing. Science may catch up – someday. It’s only natural.
limitless like the breeze

limitless possibility