I started counting down about 30 days out when freedom was on the horizon. I could feel the longing getting more intense and my agitation escalating as the days slowly ticked away one at a time.
It was the longing for freedom and space from the mundane aspects of life. I longed to escape the never-ending repetition of it, and even the meaningless of it.
In truth, the longing is the recognition that I’ve gotten caught. The reality is that I’ve gotten off track, became distracted and chosen to let the momentum of life continue to carry me away to another to do list, another issue at work, another relationship I can’t understand, and another load of laundry to do.
The longing, I know now after many years of meditation, is the missing of oneself. It’s the painful disconnect of getting lost from Self. It’s the awareness that I started living from the surface. To be specific, it is the realization that I can never fill up from Facebook browsing, shopping, working, eating, TV, reading another book or the losing myself in the I-phone, on which I can Facebook browse, shop, work… you get the idea.
So when I landed on my mediation cushion on retreat last week, I crashed into myself and the residue of life met me head on with tension, restlessness, heartache, confusion and sadness.
There was nothing in particular about my life’s circumstances that warranted these feelings and yet each feeling in their own way revealed to me what it feels like to simply be a human being engaging in life.
I sat for days in quiet, taking long and slow walks in the Redwoods, watching the sunset above the clouds, getting curious about my relationship to life and others, and giving myself space and permission to just be.
What emerged was the simple human feeling of joy.
Joy in the blessings of my husband, children, work, friends, etc. Joy in the blessings of this human life—all of the pretty and the ugly.
Today as I landed back on my cushion, I sat and met my joy and excitement about being alive.
You may wonder how does sitting with tension, restlessness, and heartache manifest joy. The answer is that in the momentum and speed of life we don’t give our heart time to feel, pause and get quiet. As a result it hardens, tightens, and keeps moving away from what feels uncomfortable. Space and time give the heart permission to let go and release all that we hold on to.
Put yourself in the center today and give your self some space and quiet and see for yourself what emerges . . . meet whatever it is with kindness and let it grow.