I don’t think I’ve ever had a season with as many highs and lows as this past summer.
This photo was taken at the Acropolis on the evening of our last night in Greece, where these timeless sculptures of women uphold the temple of the Erechtheion as they have done for 2500 years.
Sometimes I feel as though I am holding the world up too.
By the time this photo was taken, we already knew that my older daughter’s home – an 1853 farm house filled with our family antiques and photographs dating back six generations – had been entirely lost in a raging northern California wildfire. We also knew that there was no way to get back instantly, and that even if we had succeeded, the roads to the entire area were blocked by emergency personnel.
Everyone was safe, we had spoken, they had been evacuated to a hotel. There was nothing further we could do.
So we went to the Acropolis.
One of the most powerful spiritual practices is to remember that every moment contains exactly what it does and nothing else. We can respond to what is here and what is possible now and then the next moment that is arising. That’s all we’ve got.
Most of our conflicts are internal. They are a struggle between what is happening and possible now and what we want to be happening and want to be possible now. We can find peace through with the powerful spiritual practice of mindfulness – bringing ourselves back into the present.
A helpful mantra to take us into this practice is the phrase: “And now this…”
“This” is whatever is happening both within AND around you. Our internal struggle usually comes from a disconnect in which we fight the reality of the moment.
Begin with your inner experience. Pause to let yourself feel fully whatever you are feeling. Breathe slowly and deeply and repeat to yourself on the outbreath, “And now this…” Bringing compassionate awareness and acceptance to your feelings as they are opens them to begin to move through.
Then turn your focus to your outer experience – what is happening around you. Let yourself notice the sensory details. Continue slow breathing using the mantra, “And now this…”
The evening of our visit to the Acropolis, as my mind kept flying back to California, I consciously focused on the lengthening shadows of trees on the ancient stones as we walked up the hill, on the warmth of the evening, on the presence of my younger daughter, my traveling companion to Greece, beside me, on slowing my steps when I needed a rest. All these brought me back into the moment. All these calmed my whirling mind and emotions.
What internal conflict are you struggling with in this moment?
Slow your breathing. Breathe into your inner and your outer experience. “And now this…”
Feel yourself coming into the present moment and into acceptance of what is. From this place you will also feel arising what right action the next moment can offer.
With You on the Path,