22:58. I worried a lot that I would lose my “wilder artistic side” if I dropped the wine… but I’m getting a glimpse of it coming back. Wine, I felt, gave me guts and recklessness in creativity. The kind I always associated with truth.
But guts, bought cheap, rot quick; and so it was, for the liquid courage with which I’d managed to infuse my creative output. I became a series of multiple personalities that I couldn’t put together into one person.
It’s funny, I feel my selves coming together again… and this gives me the urge to do something different with my various creative outlets… to meld them together into one somehow. BUT… I remember having this feeling last time I made it to four months and a bit… and focussing far too much on that.
What if I imagined my life not in the span of one year, but in the span of an actual lifetime?
What if I remember to see a universe in a tiny patch of grass.
Yesterday I did sitting meditation for an entire five minutes. Five minutes, people!! And in half-lotus. Ouch. (Sadly I’m not physically flexible, though my inner nature bends with whatever current flows my way, or at least has, in the past.)
Anyway, it was uncomfortable, and yet… replenishing.
How to do sitting meditation in three easy steps:
- “Sit beautifully” wherever you like. “Sitting beautifully” means sitting as straight and well-postured as you can, on a chair, on the floor, outside or anywhere at all.
- Notice your breath. Don’t try to breathe any special way. Just notice your breath, and become aware of your body, your*self,* as an organism.
- Notice any bodily discomforts. Accept them (or make adjustments, within reason).
- Notice your thoughts passing through your mind. Don’t judge them. Just notice them and accept them.
- Soft focus. Don’t become obsessed with any one thought. Just notice it, allow it to grow a little if you like, then let it float on. Think of the thoughts as being like images or movie clips in a slide show.
- Keep bringing attention back to your breath. Not any special way of breathing, just the way you are breathing.
Ok that was six easy steps. Let’s accept that.
In my sitting meditation yesterday, I had a beautiful memory.
Two years ago, my husband and I took our yearly weekend away together while my parents looked after the kids.
We both love camping, and had gone south in our camper van to camp by the Mediterranean sea.
I had not booked anything, thinking we could get a last-minute place (as is often the case, and as was often my way). But every campsite in the area we’d chosen was full.
Finally, we were driving down a small strip between the sea and an inland lagoon. The sun was about to set, and we were exhausted. It had been a long day of travel after a stressful week.
But the colours on the lagoon were spectacular. Then I saw a figure on a rock overlooking the lagoon.
The man was bronzed and lean, thinly muscled. He wore only loose trousers; his brown chest and arms were bare.
He sat, facing the sunset, in full lotus, sitting beautifully, back straight and elongated, arms raised and palms together. Eyes closed, sunlight upon lids, long greying beard knotted under chin.
“Here! We have to camp here.” I said to my husband.
“Here? But it’s the side of the road. No toilets. Are you sure?”
“Yes.” (This coming from someone who’s only been sure of about five things in her entire life.)
We camped there and it was perfect. (Well except the part about no toilets.) We ended up staying there both nights.
But on the first night, we set up camp; and then, as per usual, I could not wait to open a bottle of wine and roll a cigarette. I did not want to just see the sunset… I wanted to drink it and smoke it too. It never was enough, and I always wanted more.
But, dammit, I’d forgotten to bring the corkscrew!
Well, I’d ask the yogi next door. He had a vintage camper. He was über-cool. Natch he’d have a corkscrew!
I felt a little shy, but walked over. He was preparing a plate of food, the likes of which I’d not yet seen in France before. There was no meat. There was no cheese. I could not even figure out what it was.
“Bonsoir, excusez moi… ” Do you have a corkscrew I could perhaps borrow? I asked him in French.
He seemed friendly enough, when I first approached him, but when I asked for the corkscrew, his expression closed neatly.
“Non. Pas de tire-bouchon.” No corkscrew. Then he said, looking quite clearly into my eyes (and his eyes were dark as earth), “Pas d’alcool.”
What? This cool dude did not drink booze, even just casually, on the weekend, on holiday, with a sunset?
Not even wine? ….Ever?
At the ripe old age of 44, I felt like a child.
His words trickled down into my consciousness like dharma rain on a hot summer night.
There were tiny flowers growing amongst the dry grasses, all along the edge of that lagoon road, which glowed yellow as I walked back toward our van.