Happy lunchtime Travellers,
It’s a holiday weekend in the States, so I’m off work for 4 whole days. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself, but I’ve decided I’m going to try and break my weekend routine and do something new. Which is difficult for me, as I’m a creature of carefully constructed reassuring habits…
I do enjoy abandoning the awareness of time and it’s passing. One of the loveliest things is to move thru the space of a day without it’s measure, do you know I mean? When you have time without it being under the dominion of work, chores, life…it’s a gift.
Last night, it stormed again. It seems like it was more of an assault by a million rain drops actually as there are branches down and acorns and leaves scattered all over the drive way. The world looked saturated and tired when I opened the front door this morning. It had survived the night and would live to tell the tale. And yes, I did rescue this little water logged soul that’s in the photo…
We didn’t walk this morning as wet dog is not awesome and the areas where we wander tend to flood up with this kind of rainfall. I wasn’t here yesterday to tell you how beautiful it was on that walk. I’ve decided the sky needs clouds in order to reach maximum awe. And I think beginning the day with awe is pretty much a life saver, or giver, however you want to look at it.
I want to talk today about something that I’ve done for a long time in my life, but I’ve never actually really put it into words….Since my singledom began, I’ve been doing it even more as a form of active meditation almost. Because I think meditation in it’s simplest form is cultivating awareness and stillness in your mind. Maybe your body is stationary, maybe it’s not.
I believe movement can be meditative. Sometimes I think that’s easier for people, because seated meditation is not for the weak willed. And it’s almost funny how difficult it is to remain physically unmoving while clearing the mind of everything but the meditation you are working on, be it visual or auditory or whatever. The ability to bring your mind to absolute stillness is super beneficial to your life in every way even if it’s only for a few moments.
I’ve never had a name for this activity so I’m dubbing it as the 5. As in your 5 senses, taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. And I find it works best if you focus on just one sense at a time because too much stimulus is one of the reasons we can’t sit still, is it not? In any given situation, and I’ll provide an illustration here in a sec, there are moments that have a sort of wonder-fullness that you will think to yourself, “Be here, remember this, memorize this, feel all of this” and this is a sort of deeper dive into that. It is complete concentration on an aspect or sense of that minute or minutes and then letting it be all there is all. Just for a few moments.
Here’s my example: I’ve recently discovered that the sensation of Faline exhaling on my skin has a sweetness to it that well, super powers of pussy cats. Dogs don’t really do this…my dogs are more bull in a china shop than delicate and magical. Their enthusiasm runneth over in life.
When Faline is sniffing my hand or forearm, usually after I have been petting her, she will alternately be letting out little puffs of an exhale. They feel cool on my skin and there is a delicateness that I’m not sure how to name with words. It’s lighter than the touch of anything else I can recall. Beyond a feather and I dunno, it’s just a moment that feels like life to me. Like the best part of life. Because breathing is life, for all of us. I close my eyes and just feel it. Focus on each little teeny tiny zephyr. Sweeter than a kiss really…it’s the kind of sensation that makes me glad to be alive. For us to be together in this life. And it’s the coolness of it that always surprises me coming from a warm fuzzy body.
It’s only a few minutes, but when I focus in on this experience, I can feel everything else inside come to calmness. And I do something similar in the morning, when we walk and I take the whole sky into my mind thru my eyes, look at it all, stop and stare OR sitting on the patio at night, I lay on my back and listen to the insects conducting their summer symphony that will soon fade when winter comes, OR when I’m eating one of my morning muffins, it’s the way the blueberries burst when I rupture one, the juices, the flavor, the staining my fingers, and the contrast to the muffin crumb, OR when I find a really great song and listen to it on repeat a half dozen times, really letting all the beats slink into my ears and sink into my blood, OR in a conversation with a friend, listen to the words they are saying, I’m not thinking, just listening and being glad to know them, how fortunate I am to know this human, OR shopping and as I’m looking at clothing, I’m always feeling the textures of fabrics on my skin.
That’s really what it is, the senses, which I think if we are being honest, we mostly take for granted. They’re a gift and this world is constructed in all the layers of those senses, it’s built for all of us to be fully immersed. The senses are a grounding mechanism that is built into our bodies. And not just humans, I catch Lou sniffing the honeysuckle bushes in the backyard and Ramona just gazes at the world. And Charlie, he loves the warmth of sunlight like no one I’v ever met, Faline loves the warmth of the concrete on the patio at night.
I collect these moments like a sort of talisman. Not for luck or magic, but to remind me of why this world is good still. Why I’m fortunate to have this life, even when it seems really really really shitty. It reminds me why this world is unlike any other place I will ever know in this life or the next. I replay them to calm myself and ground myself. And that’s what I believe meditation is…these 5 senses.