Yesterday I was hit by the curve ball of my old emotional patterns. My equanimity was gone. I felt as though I was alone in a sailboat doing everything I could just to keep from capsizing. This is a pattern that kicks in when I am judged negatively about behaviors that seem to be part of my nature. So it was a deep exercise in my practice of non-attachment, non-judgment, witness consciousness, self-acceptance, and breath.
I turned to contemplation to help me as I felt myself spiraling down into the abyss. I wrote a poem that it was a hard day to be me. Then went out to weed in the garden. I used my energy to observe, nourish, clarify and act without too much analysis. Then I took a half hour for pranayama practice -- beginning with dirgha 3-part breathing very deliberately sprawled on the floor, arms outstretched, bringing my awareness into my entire body. Breathing in, I was breathing in. Breathing out, I exhaled Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (May I Surrender to That Which Sustains Me). I felt as though I was pinned to the surface of the earth by its slow rotation as it revolved around the sun. Then I sat up for several rounds of kapalabhati breathing, using all the bandha locks between sequences. Phew. Centered after that, I weeded some more. This was a case of going on ahead and continuing to be active in the world, rather than curl up into that pattern of negativity and erasure. Gently extracting the weeds and placing them in the composting heap to return to the earth transformed. This was engaging and comforting. I, too, will return to the earth transformed. I, too, am just a speck of organic dust or pollen or breath.
Sitting on a stone wall, I closed my eyes, opening my heart to the waves, using "just" on the inhale and "this" on the exhale to pinpoint my attention. All the while, I was feeling the heat of the sun on my left shoulder, the coolness of the breeze from the valley on my face, the solidity of the stone beneath me, the softness of the air drawing in and out of me. All this was there this moment, this moment, this moment.
I began to feel grateful to the person who threw all the cold water on me, smiling as I realized that without being thrown back into that pattern again of questioning my basic being and worthlessness, I would not be gaining this strength in my practice. Finding that I truly can trust that being is all there is for me, that I can see judgment is an external spin that reflects the mind of the one who judges, that everything is conditional until I get beyond the conditional mind, and that I can get there... It was a quiet day. There were meals made and shared, chores done.
This morning I woke up feeling love in the inhale and joy in the exhale. It amazed me that I could so simply and happily be waking up. Then I remembered my feelings from yesterday and the incident that drew them out. I saw all this like a stagnant pool next to where I lay. Oh yes, I could go dip a foot or dunk my whole self in that pool, but I could also just stay on the path and see where the next footfall will land as it lands.