A mockingbird ushered in this morning’s thunderstorm. An old surfboard faces me as I write, reminding me that surfing is not only a metaphor, though riding the big waves is what warriors do. If this moment is not enough, nothing ever will be, and so I take it in, rain dripping gently from the gutters onto my bare shoulders, a mourning dove, a chickadee heralding the day. Life is full and my nails are painted lavender, and all I have to do is keep showing up fully, greeting uncertainty and giving thanks for all that is known and cherished. My heart is full as the sacred and the mundane kiss each other good morning.
Pema Chodron writes:
How are we going to spend this brief lifetime? Are we going to strengthen our well-perfected ability to struggle against uncertainty, or are we going to train in letting go? Are we going to hold on stubbornly to “I’m like this and you’re like that”? Or are we going to move beyond that narrow mind? Could we start to train as a warrior, asiring to reconnect with the natural flexibility of our being and to help others do the same? If we start to move in this direction, limitless possibilities will begin to open up.
(Excerpted from The Pocket Pema Chödrön, Page 34)
Every day is training in letting go and moving in the direction of limitless possibilities. I begin with this quiet time, strong espresso, summer abundance and the rounded edges that come after an early-morning storm. I often hear Maezen’s voice in my head, reminding me that every exhale is practice in letting go of struggle–something like 30,000 times a day. And every inhale, taking in life as it is, is the practice of showing up. You know, as a teenager, I quit piano lessons after ten or so years because I didn’t want to practice. I also gave up cello lessons, impatient with being a beginner, wanting to sit down and start playing Vivaldi right away.
These days, I am a beginner in so many ways, and I see it as a blessing, to finally embrace practice as a way of life, to let go of the need to be somewhere or someone I’m not. I am a novice surfer, sometimes wondering what the hell I’m doing on these big waves, getting mouthfuls of salt, sometimes tumbling and disoriented. And then I find myself face to face with a smiling dolphin, and I laugh, and lean back into the water. Floating, resting–this is practice too.