Vday woes…

This valentines day is one for the books. For the past couple of days I have been running a fever, headache and cold, all classic symptoms of the flu. Except I thought I was over my quota! I had one just two weeks ago – that time it was laryngitis and I had to cancel class and it happened to be Abhi’s birthday. Sickness is pretty much my nemesis. It may be because I didn’t get sick very often growing up, so even at 30 plus, I don’t get it that it passes.

I tried sitting with it, but all I could feel was a haze enveloping me. What’s funny is that, I realized I had a fever only while I was practicing Joseph Goldstein’s 9 minute meditation on sunday evening, when I was feeling the heat and the cold in my body. I realized after getting up that I was never warm!

So yesterday, Abhi stayed home and made me hot soupy lentils for lunch, and in the evening he did the groceries and entered the door with half a dozen red roses. Normally I would be over the moon – I LOVE flowers. But I could just summon a Thank you, and wanted to crawl into bed again. I’m even scared of going to the Doc – what if they put me in the hospital? I hate hospitals, the only time I’m brave in hospitals is when it involves Anjali. When it comes to me, I’m just a plain sissy. Though at Abhi’s insistence, I’m seeing a Doc this afternoon – but not looking forward to it!

So, here we are on Valentines day, sick. But there is a silver lining. There always is. Anjali is doing great. and I got to sleep for hours cuddling with my hubby, taken care of in every possible way. I just lie in bed and call out for things and they appear miraculously. My feet get massaged at night when I’ve been cold. I’ve been held a lot. The red roses seem almost unnecessary in this light of care. Maybe, being sick is not such a bad thing after all.


Waking up…

The night was troubled – yet another decision to make about sleep training. I had hoped it would get easier each time we have to teach Gudiya* to sleep through the night. Yet, each time, it presents a similar challenge – how to do something that brings pain in the near future, but is more freeing in the long run. This takes wisdom and patience, the kind we can’t always find momentarily, the kind that requires us to make that leap from reacting to a stream of changes, to responding with intention. Intention – this is what I have to keep coming back to. As the Dalai Lama said, my intention was my protection.

This morning – waking up to a refreshed sweet loving Gudiya who snuggles with us, and sings her little songs of joy, as she greets a new world this day. All I want to do is snooze in bed. I try for as long as I can, and then shower and get ready while Abhi spends his morning time with his angel, reading her favorite book ten little fingers and ten little toes, as he chugs through breakfast of coffee and banana. By the time he is done, I’m ready to get a bite to eat and make Gudiya’s lunch and get her ready for day care.

Those 30 minutes seem to last for ever, as I multi-task, engaging her, eating my toast and manning the scrambled eggs for her lunch. Anjali is going round and round our island in the kitchen with a piece of toast in each hand, periodically falling down while practicing her new skill of walking. Each time, she wants to be picked up. Of course. By the time I get her into the car, and say good-bye to Abhi, I feel the familiar feeling of stress. Thank God, day care is just 2 minutes away. Gudiya is happy to see her friends but does not want to let go of Mommy. She would like it all if she could have it :). Darcy distracts her, as I make my way out. It is only after I get out of the driveway of the day care that I remember to take a long breath. Whew. That is a lot of work! My mind, alert from remnants of last night’s meditation remembers – ahhh – this is what stress feels like. There doesn’t need to be judgment about it.

After filling up my near empty gas tank, and straightening up the house and my attire, I barely make it to yoga class with Leslie – after a long time. My body needs it, but my mind is busy with judgments of my ‘tardiness’. I try and let go as best as I can. I tell myself, people have more important things on their mind than spending time reflecting on my tardiness. Thank God for that :).

Slowly, the practice unfolds. Leslie reminds us to pay attention. My mind starts to quiet down. As I do a forward bend, I get a whiff of peanut butter on the knees of my pants from this morning with Anjali. It makes me smile. This is what the practice does – open us up to all that is, in this moment right now. My shoulders start to relax, and open like they haven’t in days. The heat builds up, and then the peace afterwards. Shavasana. Sweet bliss. As I settle in into my body, my being, I feel whole again.

The point of this practice of mindfulness is to be more alive to this experience of being human. This involves feeling all of what it comes with. Confusion, self-doubt and judgment are right there – along with clarity, freedom and lightness of heart. All we can do is cultivate the skillful states of being, so that we do our part in living with wisdom and care. The rest is out of our control. May we move with ease through the changes in our lives – of breath, emotions, body, mind and heart.

With Love, Shuba
*Gudiya: endearment meaning doll.

Being in the now…

Some days, being present feels as elusive as a butterfly.

Sometimes, it feels like all I do, in my sitting practice as well as real life, is start over again and again and again. I get distracted and then catch myself somewhere else completely and like a groggy traveler waking up in unknown surroundings, I don’t remember how I got there. and then I begin again. body, breath, now. red light, baby, sounds.

And then yesterday, reading Philip Moffit’s wonderful book called ‘Dancing with Life’, I was heartened. He talks about the power of that intention to start over and that it is okay if that is all we ever do.

The freedom in this moment when we realize we are a thousand miles away – is to not judge. The less we judge, the easier it is to come back to the present moment. I loved Larry Rosenberg’s instruction on this: just like a mirror. we simply see and we begin again. That is the practice. sometimes, we are more focused and present. sometimes, we are more distracted and scattered. Mindfulness is noticing and accepting things as they are – be it concentration or diffuseness. That is the practice!

Like the moon reflected in the clear water on a cool night, our spirit is reflected in everything we do and see and hear and think. There is nothing that doesn’t have to be there – everything is just as it is. It is just hard for us to believe that the miracle we so yearn for with our hearts is already happening in front of us! So we close our eyes. And then the moments when we open them – and see that sparkle of rain on the window shining like a thousand diamonds. or the mist in the mountains trembling like a coy bride, holding a secret. When we finally hear, really hear the song of the bird that has been singing since forever. In those moments, we wake up. and that makes up for everything else.

With Love, S.

A Peace of Mind…

This morning I had a chance to just hang out, after yoga, with a cup of tea, a piece of cheese, and some grapes, by the window watching the rain and the new leaves that are growing so quickly now in spring. I realized that my mind was very calm, and there was nothing I was wanting or chasing after. Thoughts kept coming and going, slowly, but I wasn’t holding on to any particular one. I kept coming back to the leaves and the taste of grapes in my mouth. It was a feeling of peace.

It has taken its time coming. My mind has been busy the last few days with stories and ideas and thoughts that I keep getting caught in. The main thought in my mind has been that I should be feeling peaceful. But I haven’t been. And that somehow felt like a judgment of sorts.

I always forget this: that peace isn’t something we can manufacture. If the conditions are right, it will come. and as soon as we go grasping after it, it vanishes. And like everything else, it passes. And that is not a problem, that is simply the way it is.

All we can do is show up, present the right conditions such as generosity and love and kindness, and accept whatever comes along. And every once in a while, what comes along is Peace 🙂 And then we can appreciate it while it lasts!

Wishing you Peace and a Lovely Spring,
With Love, S.

embodying the spirit…

sometimes I can’t help wondering, if sadness is given to us so that we can soften. because anytime I have felt sad and become aware of it, my heart seems to be softer, more gentle and I feel more compassionate, towards myself and others. there is this universal bond that, no matter how happy we or everyone around us can be, there is a part of our soul, our psyche that is touched by sadness. and sadness is what leads us to peace. peace with what is.

My husband is travelling on a long trip across Asia. and for a independent self-reliant woman like me, being alone should not be a problem. and it isn’t, in some ways. in the tangible ways. and yet, there is a sadness that is intangible, like my body yearning for the physical presence for the man I love. and no matter what, whether we talk to each other on the phone, or see each other in video chat, it is that embodiment that my soul yearns for.

body. we sometimes take the body lightly. we think the body is a vehicle to hold the soul. and yet, without this body where would the soul be! this physical presence is how we embody our spirit. and when I miss seeing my love’ eyes, his eyelashes, his nose, his lips, his hair , its not that I’m attached to his physical appearance. more than that, it is his physical presence that provides a tangible connection to his soul that I miss.

our bodies are how we connect with each other’s souls. and being present in this body is the best thing we can do for ourselves. In my last retreat, my teacher Doreen Schweiger said, if you only take two things from this retreat, let it be these: don’t ever let your breath desert your body. and appreciate the moments when you are at ease so that it can sustain your practice.

as I feel the sadness that my body feels, I can’t help but remind myself to come back to my physical being. allow it to be a doorway into my soul. and connect with the pain and longing inside me. being vulnerable is a gift sometimes. it reminds us of our wounds. of why we are in relationships. of how tremendous our love is for each other. we notice the beauty of our hearts.

with love, S.