Monday, August 12, 2013

Plastic

There's often a dead time--an exaggerated pause, an uncomfortable lag--between life's transitions. Between jobs or places or relationships or travels. It's this place where you are just waiting for the next thing to begin.

That is this time.

Somewhere in between our first year of marriage and our second.
Somewhere in between Nebraska and Colorado.
Somewhere in between The United States and Korea.
Somewhere in between one phase of our life and the next.

Call it fate, God, or a miracle, but eight days ago I began a twenty-one day, on-line meditation challenge. It's a partnership between Oprah and Deepak Chopra in which they release 15 minute thoughts and meditations once a day for twenty-one days. Being that my life has lately felt completely opposite of calm, thoughtful, or meditative, I decided this might be a good path for me. And it has been.

For 15 minutes every day, I have to be intentional about setting aside the time. About slowing down. About breathing. About thinking. About not thinking. About being kind. About taking care of myself.

From my point of view, meditation is the listening part of prayer. We spend a lot of time in traditional prayer talking at God/Spirit/The Universe. But rarely do we stop and listen. To set aside time to sit quietly and hear what God may be trying to tell us. In eight days, here's what God's been telling me:

"You're pretty cool.
It's going to be all right.
I'll be here the whole time.
Baby, don't worry 'bout a thing."
(and apparently other lyrics by Bob Marley)

A small part of every meditation involves learning a Sanskirt mantra. Sanskrit is a language. And a mantra is a phrase or meaningful saying.

Today's was: Om Vardhanam Namah 

Which means, "I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me."

Now for some of you this language sounds odd or floofy. And that's fine.
But think of it this way:
"What I put in, I get back."
"What goes around comes around."
"What I invest in experiences and people, I will receive." 

This makes sense to me. This teaches me.

Lately, what I've been sending out into the world is stress, impatience, haste, judgment, irritation, and fear. So understandably, what I've been getting back is stress, impatience, haste, judgment, irritation, and fear. That's just how it works. BUT, the more I can muster calm, patience, ease, acceptance, love, and peace, the more of that I will get back.

Because our emotions and attitudes are like plastic. You can't ever throw them away. There is no away. There is only somewhere else. So we can put our plastic in the trash can and put it out of our minds, but inevitably it will just sit in a landfill for about three thousand years. It's still there, it's just off my back.

The same is true of our stresses and fears. They are stuck in the same ecosystem we are. They don't go away. They bounce off the boundaries of our atmosphere and bounce into someone else. The less garbage I create, the better the world will be. The less I use fear as a coping mechanism, the more I will use trust as my guide.

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