Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lay Your Body Down

We left San Jose, Costa Rica, one month ago and now live in a small jungle town on the Pacific Coast. Here the gravel roads meander without a trace of straight lines, the internet comes and goes with the whim of a feral cat and the powdered-sugar beaches stretch for miles without interruption.

Where the jungle meets the beach, insects, birds and howler monkeys dominate the sound-scape. The fastest my body moves is determined by the speed of my mountain bike petal strokes. I keep track of time by counting the number of waves that roll under my surf board as the ocean and I slowly get acquainted. And at night millions of tiny diamonds shine without inhibition while giant sea turtles lay what will one day be the next generation of ocean elders.

Here the over-relied-upon machine of my mind comes to rest. Any feeble attempts to “make sense of...”, "assess" or "figure out" this great Mystery of Life are dwarfed by the sheer majesty of the endless blue horizon.

How much time do you spend meandering the inner-landscape of your thinking mind? Judging, critiquing, assessing?

Are you willing to experience more of the outer landscape of Nature’s beauty and less of the inner-landscape of your thinking mind?

Make a date with the Earth. Lay your body down. With your back on Her belly feel Her and
let Her feel you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Salty

Today while I was being tossed like plankton against the oncoming waves of the Pacific, a board under my belly, a storm on the horizon, I was once again introduced to the physical presence of that great Power who repeatedly (with great certainty) tells me, “Lauran, my dear, you are NOT in charge.”

Gotcha. Splash...gurgle...No, really! Gotcha!

I can’t control the ocean. I can only master the art of using the its power to generate a deeper experience of my aliveness.

A similar lesson arises in regards to my emotions. At times I’d like to think that I have total control over these waves, but - noooooope - I am not the source of their undulations.

I think back during a time when I was grieving the tragic murder of dear childhood friend. Grief just took me...way under, like today’s stormy waves. It didn’t matter how much I prayed for the sorrow to end or how much I wished the pain to stop. Grief receded when it was ready to recede and not on my watch.

This leads me to a deep interest in the process of becoming more skillful as I navigate the uncontrollable powers that bring on intense waves of emotion. Daily in my own life and in the lives of friends and students I see the way emotions toss us hither-tither, knock the metaphorical boards from under us and hold us beneath the surface in the dark with salty brains and burning eyes.

So my meditations currently are: how can we become more skillful with the power that sources our emotions? How can we, knowing that we are not in control, grow into graceful “emotional surfers”. How can we learn to harness the power of grief, sadness, bliss, lust, joy, frustration, anger, delight for the ultimate goal of deepening our vitality, creative processes, relationships and service in the world?

After all, every surf session thus far - even the most laborious and taxing - have awakened me to what it means to really be alive: the good, the bad, and the salty!