Letting go, or how to move forwards

I’ll admit that I have some experiences in my life that are really difficult to shake the memories of. Despite having the courage and strength to quit drugs, cigarettes, booze, and unhealthy food, there’s still this one girl that I can’t forget hurting.

let-go2

It was over ten years ago, and there were plenty of less-than-ideal facets to the relationship, but I was in love, and I was the one that wholly messed it up.

Over the last few months I’ve met some amazing new people and friends who have talked through this stuff with me, and I have recently realized that the only person I’m still hurting with these memories is myself. She’s long since gone, moved on, and forgotten what happened.

Maybe it’s because I have no control to try and fix the relationship, to salvage a friendship. If I have ever erred in my life, even if I’ve repeated a mistake that I have (chosen?) not to learn from, I am quick to try and come clean. I yearn for forgiveness, but its not specific. I yearn for forgiveness in my entire life, for how I choose, or have chosen, to live.

Yet there’s only one person holding on to these grudges, only one person who can forgive me.  I’ve been searching for someone to replace this girl, thinking it would never happen. But they’ve been here the whole time.

It’s me.

I can forgive, I can forget, I can move forwards.  It’s as simple as letting go of any ownership of that hurt and pain, and choosing to move forwards. Again, simple advice that isn’t the easiest thing to put into practice.

But you know what? It is!

Just remind yourself of everything positive you have done, and how these doubts and fears are holding you back from your very wonderful, but brief time on this planet.

Fear doesn’t exist. It’s only how you choose to colour your experiences.

So go ahead. Let go.

Move on.

Here’s Cristian Mihai’s blog as I referred to in the video, and who’s post prompted me to write this piece

Advertisements

Just start

A few new things today.. First off this is a bit of a primer for those looking to incorporate a sitting practice into their own schedule. Many people have expressed a simple “get started” guide, but find even basic instruction too intimidating with its simplistic “Just Sit” philosophy.

Sit

Secondly, this is my first blog that contains a vlog component. I originally planned on starting a new YouTube channel, but ended up deciding to continue uploading to the one I have had for many years.  Firstly, I feel like this maintains a healthy level of transparency of my online persona: I have never been one to hide behind a certain “anonymous” brand that is 100% congruent with each online identity. I prefer to simply be who I am, a human being, and filled with the same flaws as anyone else.  It also allows viewers to watch older posts of mine and see where I’ve come from, even though they are basic vlogs with little meditative content… in essence, they are reality at its best.. I always strived to share wholly unedited clips, and never shoot a second time to improve the delivery.

But enough! Back to the matter at hand.

Want to learn how to sit? Many people will be plagued by the problems of fidgeting, discomfort, or the lack or an ability to concentrate on not concentrating.

But really all sitting practice, or zazen, is about, is mindfulness. Just appreciating every action and every moment. With practice, tasks like cleaning and cooking can become meditative practice, according to Leo Balbuta of Zen Habits.

Yet I was browsing Reddit yesterday, more specifically /r/zenhabits, and found a great link to Janine Holsinger’s blog, appropriately named “Just Start”, and an article called “Finding Zen”. In it, she mentions Kevin Rose’s “100 Breath, 30 day challenge”

So, this morning I tried it out, and here’s a video of me explaining a bit more about it.

Anti thought

I had a migraine all day yesterday. I woke up knowing it wasn’t going to be a fabulous day because of the pain, and, as always, I was right. It steadily got worse and worse. No amount of medication could shift it, and I even had to have a nap in my car at lunch to try and placate it.

migraine2

It exhausted me, and after I got home around 1800h, I was useless. I couldn’t eat, think, or decide what to do with myself. I didn’t want to fall asleep (although that would have been bliss) because I didn’t want to adjust my schedule and wake up at 3. I chatted via text with a friend for almost an hour, trying to smooth out my dark thoughts, but little was working

So I sat. I meditated. I “zenned out”. And it was glorious. I had been so preoccupied with the headache all day that I realized that I craved to be on my mat. It could have been in a broom closet at work: it wasn’t that I wanted to be home.. I just wanted a space to sit and to be alone for a few minutes.

I think this was prompted by the headache.. it took all my resources just to get through the day. Even thinking was painful, so just the act of “being” was tiring me out.

Once on the mat, I was able to sort out these feelings, as it allowed my mind to stop processing even basic thought and to allow myself a few minutes without stress, without concern, just to be.

Once I was done, I went to sleep, and although I woke up earlier than I usually would, I used that time to sit again, to reflect on how a mind numbing headache was the catalyst for a great session. The more time I spend on the mat, the more time I want to spend on the mat.

The Journey is the Goal

For months, if not years, I’ve been searching for the ultimate goal, and for ages I figured that happiness or, more recently, enlightenment, was the “end game” content I was seeking.

The_path_of_reflection

Just yesterday, on the mat, something came to me, and I can’t seem to shake it.  There is no end goal. The very process of life, the daily efforts we make, the small kindnesses we pay to ourselves and others; this is what life is all about.

Sure, it seems elementary, and we might read this sort of contemplation in a number of places, in a variety of forms.

But for me, it suddenly clicked into place, and that’s what I’m sharing.

Gone are the doubts and fears that weighed me down about not being where I want to be in life. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

natalie be here now

Now.

Now.

Now.

A mantra that repeats with every breath, and anchors me in a fleeting moment.

Every day I can strive to improve who I am, and, in turn, improve the lives of those around me.  A simple smile, a reassuring grasp of someones shoulder. These are all actions that can form a roadmap of each day. Place enough of them end to end, and the simple enjoyment of the journey becomes clear.

Each year is broken into days, each day into hours, and each hour into moments: experiences.

Approaching each of these with shoshin, or beginner’s mind, will envelop the beauty in the simplicity of all things. The  choices you make that offer the least resistance will start to form an easy cadence.

Follow it, and you follow yourself. Sounds a bit cyclical.. but so is your breath.