NaBloPoMo 2021: Do Good, Kid
How often do you say to yourself, “I knew better than that”?
I am 48 years old—how many more times will I have to relearn lessons that I thought I had integrated already? It’s all the things I write about here—for the last six years, and studied since long before that—Give the A; take a deep breath; withhold judgment; embrace polarities and paradox… Often, if I’m paying attention, I observe myself walking these talks. But maybe just as often, I look back on an interaction and realize I completely forgot to practice one or all of these fundamental skills.
Before I get too down on myself, though, I can usually look a little farther back and see how much I really have progressed over the years. That’s one of the best things about keeping a blog for so long—I can read any of the last 430+ posts and see clearly my mindset then versus now. I have evidence for how I am exactly the same person and also a better version of myself today than in 2015. That is reassuring, and motivates me to stay on the path of inner work.
Mindfulness meditation teachers talk about ‘monkey mind’—the tendency for our thoughts to flit from one tree to another, hard to focus or apprehend, constantly bringing us away from the present moment, often speaking in regret about the past or anxiety about the future, making lists of tasks, grievances, aspirations, barriers, etc. But in this school of inner work, we don’t judge the mind for its capricious vaulting from one state of disquiet to another, so often in random, exhausting chaos. We walk the talk by simply noticing the wander, and then practicing the return. It’s about being with what is, including how we feel about it, without judgment, and learning from what that awareness has to teach us. We strengthen our internal practice of centering, grounding, focusing, and engaging ourselves and our world with more peace and magnanimity.
If I know where my center resides, then my personal compass is always accurate. No matter where my experience leads, which core skills I forget, even in the most intense emotional hijack, I can always find my way back. No matter how far afield I have roamed, for however long, I can learn and return. I can bring new and relevant awareness from before, to whatever comes ahead, by way of this present moment. I do this when I return to myself—to my why, that which gives me meaning and purpose—and that roots me. I can refresh, recharge, reassess, and restart. And that is definitely something to celebrate.