I have been meditating for three weeks now, and I’m starting to see benefits from my practice. I am very far from being the Zen Goddess- just a few days ago, I lept to my feet halfway through my meditation and yelled, “Dammit, Sophie- hush up!” when Dan let the girls out and Sophie started barking- he had forgotten our discussion about leaving the girls inside while I’m meditating. Oops….the very human Denise slipped out yet again. Sophie is sweet, but becoming a tad mental as she ages, and I’m still too new at meditation to block the external noise. Hopefully in time. What I learned? Sophie makes a wonderful meditation partner, snoozing at my side until my meditation timer gently chimes.
Mr. MacKenzie warming up before yoga class.
I do see changes, though. Dan taught a yoga class at Birmingham’s Railroad Park this windy evening, and there were several opportunities to practice ignoring distractions- trains, planes, and automobiles, along with loud children and ducks- yes, ducks. It is always interesting at this park in the middle of downtown Birmingham.
Along with the distraction of the sounds of the city, there were irritating people; a couple of guys with huge egos who always come to arrogantly show off their ability at the asanas (poses)- so not in the spirit of what yoga is about- and screaming, unsupervised children. This was my chance…could I shut them out and focus on my practice? I was so missing our quiet yoga studio at the Y. As Dan began the class, the noises swirled around me…but I began to go inward. Breath in, breath out…I am at peace.
As we progressed, I noticed that I wasn’t worrying about the outside distractions. Oh, I was aware of them, but they had somehow receded into the periphery. Instead, I focused on my breath and how much I was able to engage fully in each pose. This was quite different from my usual scattered monkey brain- especially with the stress of my upcoming trip to Madrid and the myriad details that I have to take care of before I leave. Progress!
I am also seeing benefits in my practice. I am getting more done, not getting distracted as easily as I work. My mentor used to say, “Focus is one way- when I practice, it’s all I do. ‘Something else’ never enters my mind. ” That has always been a challenge for me as my brain darts around, with thoughts of “what I need to do” popping in and out. That still happens, but it is improving. Maybe at fifty-two, some lessons of the past are starting to sink in.
The summer of change continues. Each cog in the wheel is giving me a better, healthier quality of life. I am far from perfect…but perfection is not the goal- and certainly not realistic for me. I only hope to keep moving forward in the right direction, and when I veer off course, I will at least know how to get back on track. Namaste.