Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Vacation, Move-in, 22 Hour Day and Need for Metta

The day I published my last blog, Marc and I left the big city for beautiful Virginia to visit my family.  It was a wonderful visit, relaxing as well as fun and filled with the southern culture that I love so much and is so much a part of my being.

So I was going to write a blog about that.

The day we came back from that vacation - Tuesday the 3rd - was our first night in the new apartment.  We got home from the airport around 5:30 and immediately began the still-ongoing task of taking all of our belongings out of the "nook" (small second bedroom/practice room) and unpacking.

So then I was going to write a blog about that.

In the middle of last week, though, Marc got upsetting news from home.  A close friend's younger brother, who Marc also knew, had died suddenly.  He was only 22 years old.  We decided to attend the memorial service to be held on Sunday in Boston.

It was a day filled with every kind of emotion in the book.  We got up at 5am to catch a 7am train to the city and got home that night at 3am.  We had lunch and dinner and wonderful times with his parents, I got to see his beautiful high school (the service was held in the theatre) and, though we obviously wish it were under better circumstances, I met many of his old friends and his mentor, Brother Ron.

The memorial service itself was a beautiful experience too, along with the obvious sadness and grief (and many, many, many tears) it inspired, and I'd like to take a slight detour to write about it in more detail.

Brother Ron opened with the Prayer of St. Francis along with some really comforting words of his own, which struck a deep chord with me. 

The young man's Uncle Christopher spoke about using his memory to inspire compassion into our every day lives - nearly everyone who spoke emphasized that this young man never said an unkind word about anyone.  Christopher called for all of us present to stop and consider where someone else may be, emotionally speaking, the next time a person on the street or in the supermarket annoys you or does something to make you angry.  He or she could be feeling, "exactly as we all are now."  It really reminded me a lot of what Dr. Taylor wrote in My Stroke of Insight, and it's so important to remind ourselves of the importance of daily, constant compassion.

The final speaker, the young man's older brother - Marc's friend - was unbelievably eloquent.  He invoked Buddhist philosophy, which he had been reading a lot of the last week in search of comfort.  It was comforting to me that I was finding inspiration in everyone for all of the variety of things they were invoking - words of different faiths and words not necessarily derived from faith at all, but just from loving this incredibly special young man and hearing the stories of how he touched people and how he has inspired them to live their lives better because of how he lived his.

Major life events like funerals, births, any kind of extreme joy or tragedy, really causes us to take stock of what we have, what we're grateful for, and what we really want out of our lives.  Throughout these last turbulent, stressful, but ultimately great two weeks, my yoga/meditation practice, which is unspeakably important to me, has really slipped.  I let the circumstances of vacation or moving or fatigue or stress or whatever it was rule me instead of taking charge and firmly planting this beloved practice into my stubborn, inconsistent schedule.

Luckily, being back in town for a week has meant that things are slowly starting to fall back into place - I'm scheduling massages and sorting out my yoga teaching and, more importantly, my yoga practice.  My phenomenal Thai Yoga Massage teacher, Jyothi Watanabe, is coming to my new apartment this very evening for our one-on-one session, and I could not be more excited about it.

In preparation for that, and equally to shower Marc with well deserved metta (loving-kindness, which is the most important element of the philosophy behind Thai Yoga Massage as a healing art) and relief from Sunday's wildly uncomfortable train rides, I gave Marc the 90 minute Thai Yoga Massage in our new place Monday night.

It really cracked us open, emotionally, spiritually, physically.  On the heels of such an intense (and sleep deprived) Sunday, we were rather vulnerable to begin with, and the session truly felt like a marked beginning in our re-commitment to our practice.

For me, one of those things that I've felt like I just haven't been able to firmly plant into my life as a satisfying ritual has been this blog.  I feel like I have so much to say, and I feel like I have so much I can learn just by exploring it through here.  Now that I feel I really have a home that's going to be geared toward supporting that...well, it still is entirely up to me, isn't it?  Circumstances can conspire to make it easier to make good choices and to engage in self discipline, but it's still ultimately up to you.

I realize this has been a disjointed and more personal than generally yogic...but yoga is living, not just the philosophy and history and poses and terminology.  When you don't officially do your 10-20-45 minutes of seated mediation or yoga or journaling, when you're just living life...there's still yoga present in what choices you make, how you treat people, and how you treat yourself.  It's just a lot easier to access and keep present when it's rooted in a sadhana - a daily practice.

So with that, I leave you, World of Blogs, and will be back next week...a little more unpacked, a little more settled, and a little more firmly planted.

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