Out my window tall barren branches stretch up into this crisp Virginia winter morning. As usual, the sky seems to be a mirror of my mind, half clouds and half blue. The end of the year is coming close and I’m finding it challenging to keep my mind right here, right now, in 2014. I’m half in and half out. Half present and half in the future. (Is it even possible to be half present?)
I’m full with all kinds of energy: excited that I have so many new videos coming out next year; that I get to go on a Zen retreat with Enkyo Roshi over Christmas weekend; that my Buddhist Chaplaincy training with Roshi Joan begins in March; that my 200 TT group in Lynchburg is so awesome. I’m sad and heart-full about my mom being on hospice care and Leroy having cataracts right now. I’m grateful to so many and for so much. Half in and half out, half here and half there.
Thank Goodness for yoga! This practice of equanimity reminds me to “sit in the middle”with a still and spacious heart. As I drop into winter more and more I realize that all this swirling is fine – it’s part of digesting all that has happened this year. The Zen term for winter practice period is Ango, which means “dwelling in peace.”
So I’ve shifted my practice to incorporate a lot more pranayama, uddiyana bandha and retentions, as well as longer headstands and shoulder stands. This has connected me to a deep, quiet vitality and positivity. Balancing this active work with longer resting periods and more restorative is a good way to avoid over extending and moving toward Vata derangement and exhaustion. Now is not the time to “radiate out.” Now is the time to gather energy in a focused way, so I recommend sitting meditation for a minimum of ten minutes a day.
I don’t know what next year will bring and I sometimes get knotted up thinking about it. Then I go to my cushion where my mind settles down and inspiration arises naturally, another form of digesting all that has come before.
I’m not going to miss one day of this good stuff. Anywhere between 20 – 120 minutes will do the job.
I wish you all Happy Healthy Safe and Easeful Holidays.
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