by Vicki L. Flaherty
my turbulent mind is tiresome.
my thoughts tedious,
tempting like a train
moving out of the station
into the countryside
and cities and towns of every size.
then, I remember to breathe.
I bring myself home to the present.
without effort the train disappears
and the luring journey ceases.
my suffering gently, rhythmically
comes to an end.
This was my experience mid-way through a meditation program – noticing my mind carrying me to all sorts of places I had no intention of going, and then finding my way to calm spaciousness by bringing myself back into the ground of my body and the movement of my breath.
I keep coming back to a short simple practice I created for myself some 5 years ago. It grounds me and brings me a sense of calm.
Standing with feet about hip distance apart and arms gently hanging at my sides, I bring my attention to my body, noticing my breath. Then, in my mind’s eye I slowly scan my body, with my attention pausing on each of my chakras and inviting positive intention:
Chakra 1 – feet, legs, base of the spine: May I be grounded and centered, living my life on a foundation of love and kindness
Chakra 2 – hips, abdomen, low back: May I open to joy and creative energy, pleasure and fun, laughter and smiles
Chakra 3 – solar plexus: May I take action that makes a difference for me, for my partner, all those I love, and all beings
Chakra 4 -heart: May I I be guided by an open and loving heart
Chakra 5 – throat: May I speak my truth with compassion and calm
Chakra 6 – eyes, brow: May I see and open to possibility
Chakra 7 – top of the heat: May I lean toward the light
I’ll often end with a few deep breaths, perhaps sweeping my arms out from my sides and over head with an inhale, and with an exhale, bringing my palms together and back down in front of me resting at my heart.
Do you have a practice that grounds and supports you?
inside my head
the little voice
whispers worldly words
that I want to push away
her arms to fight
then I remember
to take a deep breath
to slowly walk up beside the voice
acknowledging her wisdom
grateful for her good intentions
and to stand calmly in her presence
from this accepting space
the world opens
and I feel free
to write a different story
that moves me
in the direction
that I truly want to go
Today’s post is a tribute to Teresa, who led restorative yoga classes at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for breast cancer survivors back in 2012. One day in our practice she invited us to befriend, rather than resist, our natural unpleasant thoughts…to try standing beside them versus pushing them away. I remember the sense of calm that came with her invitation and this fresh relationship.
This post is also dedicated to ‘Coach Christina’ who guided me for 6 months in early 2012 at a time when unwelcome thoughts were abundant following my mastectomy. With her guidance and incredible loving support, I was able to befriend and shift my thoughts in ways that brought welcome catharsis.
I am so grateful for the wise leaders who guide and inspire me.
* I took this photo in San Agustinillo, Mexico. These two little guys capture so nicely how I would like to be friends with those sometimes unhelpful voices in my mind. 🙂