my autumn practice


Saturday, the melancholy lifted.

(If you listen to the world, it responds.)

Sunday, my husband M and I went on two beautiful autumn walks - the first together (strolling through an art faire at a local park) and the second with our awesome son Remy and some friends, at a corn maze. We had never walked a corn maze before, but our friends go to this maze nearly every year and they had a plan. Well executed, it meant we were able to complete the maze's scavenger hunt and not get unduly lost. It was a great time.

(If you listen to your self, you respond.)

The goal of self-care, of self-love, of being present with where I am and taking care of my self, isn't to be able to never feel these human emotions. Melancholy, grief, pain - these are difficult to sit with, difficult to look in the eye, but they're there because we are only and ever human. They're a gift of being alive, of really living.

Sure, you can shut your emotional self down and never feel grief - but then you're losing joy and euphoria, too. That isn't worth it to me. (It may be to you.) And so, that isn't the point of my practice.

The point, to me, isn't to to stop feeling any of roller-coaster emotions but to stop identifying so closely with them. I am not my melancholy. I am not my anger. I am not my euphoria. I am not my ecstasy. I am not my grief. I am not my pain. I am not my happiness. I am not my joy. I experience all of these emotions but I am not them. I am bigger. (I am more than "I am.")

I am unending, atoms and stars - the oneness of everything and the individuality of me.

That's so much bigger than emotions, than thoughts.

Emotions and thoughts are part of the whole - I am always going to have them while I'm alive and that is completely awesome. But they're not the entirety. And that makes a difference.

I am not my discomfort. I am not my comfort.

(If you listen to the universe, it listens back.)

It's harder to remember our oneness when we are feeling the more difficult feelings. Who likes to be in pain, truly? (Not fake-pain, a lot of people like to be in made-up pain because it gives them the sense that they can control the real pain. And that's ok. You're bigger than that, too. So much bigger than your need to control what feels so out of control.)

So that's the reason for practice - so it gets easier to remember oneness when it's hard.

The difficult shitty times are still going to be difficult shitty times. Do you really think anyone doesn't hurt when they hear of other people hurting? Do you really think we don't all feel beaten down by how awful it all can be? And that we don't all rejoice when something goes right? We do.

Practice simply lets you remember that you are part of this oneness. Practice lets you love (yourself, the world, your worst enemy) through all of your emotional states, through all the thoughts.

(If you listen to yourself, you listen back.)