RESTART: THE ART OF STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN
(my article, as previously published on Elephant Journal)
The day starts with the startling alarm clock.
I meet it with the familiar resistance. All I want is to stay in bed, but that ring is a sign that it absolutely has to happen—now.
Coffee becomes the crutch to help me jumpstart the day (no offense my dear, you know I love you); the undeniable necessity to clear out the mental cobwebs. Automatic pilot is on: ready to take on the busy day. The breath tries to catch up, like a kid holding on to the adult’s hand, who abruptly walks along the fast track shopping spree aisles.
The busy workday, another challenge to survive. Third time today, I’ve glared at the stack of insurmountable to-do’s on my desk, and then directly at the wall clock hoping lunch time will come soon. Hoping there’ll be a bit of reminiscence of our last Hawaii vacation: a sense of the lost art of ease.
Only two more years until (fill in the blank) retirement, school ends, I switch jobs, etc.
When did I mount this fast train, again? And, not that it matters just now but, where was I going, I said?
A jolt at the workout scene—“I will survive!” blasting through the white headphones, my music choice for today, hoping these 45 minutes become bearable. Finally I sweat it out, that’s done! and I hope I’ll get the perfect body soon enough.
I meet two friends who ask how I’ve been. Automated response: “Good, how are you?” (hmm, interesting, how have I been actually? Long time since I really thought about that). They ask when it’s cool to meet and catch up, but, hey, I’m just too busy to meet up. Catching up adds up to yet another to-do on my heavily loaded agenda.
So I say I’ll call them back and I put the reminder on my phone. It will beep at me loudly when it’s time, jolting me into action, reminding me to keep going.
A reminder just like every day’s alarm beep jumpstarting me out of my sleep.
But… (pray for it… wait for it…)
The day comes when I’ll decide to follow the sunset into bed. And I rest. Sleep is the best meditation. True story—and Dalai Lama’s actual words! The light of the sunrise is my alarm-less wakeup invite. I take a long, deep breath.
Are the singing birds outside excited, or is it me actually ready to get up?
I sit for my morning Metta practice of choice. I wait for the breath to move me and through me. I stretch, clearing out the cobwebs. My forgiving body is so Prana-filled and happy to take me along. It actually tells me just what it needs today ’cause it knows now I’m listening (disclaimer: it usually wants to restart many of my “usual’s” (routines, ways, routes, choices) all over again.
For a moment I sit and sip my delicious French Roast (yes, I love you, my dear).
And, I notice.
I notice everything.
Everything that was always there.
The day at work goes by in a breeze and lunch actually has a taste (Hawaiian ease right at lunchtime?!)
In this newly discovered silence, my body’s language is suddenly so clear: “You’re switching your workout to the outdoors today, sweetie”…and so I follow its lead. I sweat it out only because it’s amazing and… I love it.
Then I meet two friends. They’ll ask when it’s cool to meet to catch up. But no worries, I know when it’s a good time to meet and when to say “No, I can’t meet today.” “Oh, you’re too busy?” they ask.
No, I actually have an un-busy moment and I want to dance ’till dawn, all to myself.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
~ Maya Angelou