Resting is the Door

I just sat down to schedule out the next few months. It’s the first time I’ve had mental bandwidth in almost a month. Now that I no longer feel like I’m wearing a helmet of snot and an iron lung, I feel ready to plan out some projects that I signed on for back in 2014.

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Fern, ever ready to take on the world. It’s hard to see in this pic, but she was also wearing a black cape.

I’ve been experiencing a consistent theme of can-do-ness. Not exactly readiness, confidence or even creativity. More of a “Yup. Doin’ that.” This theme, or sense, has shown up everywhere, from internal feeling, to tarot readings, dharma lessons to meditation.

Although, I have to say…now that I have plugged all my projects into the calendar, where they can hobnob with ongoing obligations…I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t totally freaking out feeling nervous about how it’s all gonna pan out. How I’m going to pan out, without melting down in an introvert’s tantrum.

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Leo, in the whittling zone. Also, the backdrop to these photos may just be the ugliest corner on the ranch, crammed up against the water tank, pump and the flotsam and jetsam of a backyard porch. Not every moment can be instagramtastic. I just made up that word.

Without divulging too much, I will tell you that these projects include;

1. writing an article as a journalist
2. two teaching gigs at my old alma mater
3. getting licensed as an mft.
4. super secret writing project with a friend

In particular to #3…yes, that’s right. The countdown is on. Study materials have been purchased and test scheduled. By mid year, I will finally be done with what has been A TEN YEAR PROCESS. Cripes.

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Whittling a staff for Fern, the super-hero shepherdess.

Within all this is the corner stone of a deeper theme, one chosen for the new year. I recently began a meditation practice with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a teacher of Bon Buddhist wisdom. Like my former practice of Shambhala Buddhism, the teachings are tibetan in origin, but unlike Shambhala, predate the Buddha:

Bon is Tibet’s oldest spiritual tradition. It includes teachings and practices applicable to all parts of life, including our relationship with the elemental qualities of nature; our ethical and moral behavior; the development of love, compassion, joy and equanimity; and Bon’s highest teachings of the “Great Perfection,” dzogchen.

from the Ligmincha website.

I explored a meditation with Rinpoche on a whim last fall, and was stunned to discover the missing piece to my former practice. Years ago I walked out of the meditation center, called to reconnect with those elemental qualities of nature, the ones that mirrored my internal experience. I needed something embodied and felt, something that included the dynamic wild. The Bon practices feel like coming home.

That deeper theme? It’s one of the primary tenants of this new practice.

Effort is the exit. Resting is the door.

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My wild shepherdess.

What does that mean? It means that at my center there is a place of stillness, silence and spaciousness. Within there may also be storms, or calm seas. But it is a place to rest in at all times, and that resting is the door to everything else in my life, including goals. The exit is effort. Striving, stressing, anxiety, worry, avoiding, and frustration are all ways of exerting effort, effort in trying to get away from the discomfort of the present moment. In trying to make the present moment more than it is.

In choosing to rest, to practice peace instead of practicing stress, means re-prioritizing. These last five years since my daughters birth have been marked and marred by my striving. I began internship right when I found out I was pregnant, and like many modern women, I have been trying to juggle ambition and career with motherhood. I also felt like I couldn’t fail, that I needed to make up for the poor timing in messing up my birth control. Not once in all this time have I given myself permission to just be a mom. I have successfully completed my internship, I have built a career, I have kept up a writing practice, I have kept house and made healthy food. But I also have not played with my daughter, I have often felt that she was an irritation and I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy that distracted me away from her glowing face.

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The next few months my blogging will be infrequent. I will probably be posting more on instagram, so please do find me there. I will update here with brief posts full of photos. And I may also post a bit more on the professional site.

Blogging is, and has been, a wonderful experience. But it has also been an angst filled one, and has at times served as one of the primary ways I distract myself, a place where I have come when I have wanted to shore up against those feelings of inadequacy. I want my writing practice here to be what it was initially. A way of resting. Of just being, in that stillness, silence, spaciousness, with you. A place for sharing and connecting, not for striving and career climbing.

I’m still here, so come find me, resting in the middle of the storm and accomplishing All The Things. Big love to all.

(p.s. Oh snap! Did you notice I changed the title of the blog? That was a direct result of not striving, the name came from a moment of spontaneous rest. At some point I’ll write an intro. Maybe in August. 😉 )

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3 thoughts on “Resting is the Door

  1. Damn girl! Good thing we’re in this together, because we are on such similar paths right now. I’m excited to hear more about your practice, about your exams.

    It’s so weird to me that as children, if we’re lucky (I wasn’t), as young folk we’re told that we can do whatever we want and everything we want, but as women we get to discover that this simply isn’t possible, not in the context of this modern life. The infinite possibilities lure us in, only to keep slamming the door to our faces. The only way to survive and thrive is to close some doors, while letting the breeze blow right in through others. It’s a hard lesson. I for one I’m totally not done learning it. Just that there are things I can’t fit in.

    On the things you speak of in particular, I have always admired you for all that you’re able to accomplish and the little (waaaaay too little) time I’ve gotten to spend with you it was my experience that you are one of the best moms I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around. And I think I’ve said this before (not to you specifically, but in my writing): I had a mom who did all the things and that simply was a part of my childhood. I know my mom has had some regrets around it, but my experience of my childhood has always been that it was magical and special and that many of the things my mom mentioned, I experienced/ interpreted as freedom and trust and space and inclusion, rather than neglect or being overlooked. Just my two cents. It’s great to do better if you feel like you need to and can, but to not dwell on how much better you could have done. You’re the best mom Fern will ever have, the only mom for her. ❤

    I'm excited for you to take time to do the things you want. Very very excited indeed 😉

    Love you.

  2. Mary dear, I am with you all the way! Just like Milla says, it makes me truly happy that you are taking that path right now, taking time to do the things you want. Congratulations :o)

    In fact, I had the strange feeling – while reading the part about resting being the door of mindfulness, whereas effort is the exit – that you were describing a process I have been experiencing since June I think.

    Strangest still (or is it?), I seem to have eventually reached the point where this very acceptance of not doing much, except living in the present moment, is giving me the momentum I need to accomplish the things that are meaningful for me. I’ve figured that out maybe uh, ten days ago? And I just can’t help smiling.

    Love you, sisters.

    xo

  3. Yes- to all of it- so kind of you to share the areas you need to work on as a mom- those are my areas too- there is such treasure in being ambitious- but it needs to be balanced- and I’m not so good at that. I’ve just scaled back on my own blog and projects in order to focus on the things I really care about too- priorities shift, or become clearer- best of luck to you as you focus in.

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