Spring…Out on a limb

I watched a young squirrel amble out on a limb this morning. It was the old, browning limb that reaches out beyond her sister branches of my beloved redwood. As the squirrel lingered in the warm rays and surveyed his lucky station, he unwittingly dispelled my growing concerns about this dying branch and cast out my speculations as to the future of this old, elegant tree. A few minutes later, he scurried back to the trunk and his day, and I was left with a chuckle and a re-ignited love of embracing the moment.

I’ve been reading about the new research on learning theory and just love the idea that the more we truly, deeply experience what it is we are doing, the more likely it is to be learned and become an enduring skill or memory. If you’re like me, one of the great ways to ensure a deep experience is for it be in nature–gazing at a stand of old trees, a fierce, pounding surf, or a flock of birds banking on a warm updraft. In these moments, all other thoughts are eclipsed and the brightness of the present is revealed.

Mind you, if we are distracted with a particular goal of wanting to achieve or learn something, or have a recurring regret that keeps popping up, then our attention may be stolen away from the sweet fullness of the moment. So this spring lets allow the goal-setting self to chill a bit and enjoy the moment, this glorious time of year, and crawl out on some limb and take in the view!

see you out there…

TRY: this simple “NOW” Meditation

Find your comfortable seat. Take a moment to get comfortable and sense your spine comfortable and erect. Begin to simply watch your breath, a full inhale and its pause; a complete exhale and pause… Continue with witnessing the natural breath, resisting any urges to make it longer, deeper or “better” in any way. Just observe…Inhale…Exhale…

As you notice thoughts creeping into your awareness, try categorizing them either “future” or “past.” See if you can quickly and easily discern a thought as to its orientation: Are you planning a future event? You may sense that it is colored with hope, excitement, fear or anxiety–no matter. Just name it future and imagine you could drop it into a folder and see it drop into that folder, then come back to the breath, to now. Perhaps the next thought is a memory–of a fun event, a sweet gathering; or perhaps its a feeling of regret, a wishing you could change the outcome of some memory. Again, see if you can name it “past” and drop it into the past folder. Come back to the breath… come back to Now.

Over and over as the thoughts arise, name them and put them in their folder and return to now. Be curious about the nature of your thoughts, yet quickly file them away.

Practice being patient and kind, retuning to Now over and over again.