Jeff: I’ve been enjoying a new practice. Every night before sleep, I write in a journal one line about how I want to be in my life the next day. I might write “Slinky, sensual, slow as a snake,” or “Booming and happy, like a big huggable Buddha,” or “Action hero readiness and competency – like Captain America!” What I write depends on my mood, and sometimes on what’s happening the next day. The emphasis is always on the embodied feeling of how I want to show up. The next day, my words often end up being a noticeable theme. It just seems to happen, like magic. How does it work? No doubt part of it is I’m scripting myself – I’m essentially playing a role. But it can feel like more than this too, like the world meets me coming the other direction, and mischievously feeds me lines and scenarios.
“Imagination lays the tracks for reality to follow,” says trickster Caroline Casey. How superb. This Monday, we use our imaginations to shape our caring.
Jeff: Let’s do … nothing. But stay aware. Let’s watch self and world happen: sounds lead to thoughts, memories lead to emotions, the process of just trying to exist leads to a million tiny urges to check out, lash out, upgrade, freak out, divert, isolate, give up etc etc. Castles of neurotic complexity that build over time – and then we live in them! In the middle of an earthquake called 2023! And it’s fine. It’s life, it’s interesting. And … we can also practice deep life – that is, staying simple in the middle of everything. Now when complexity and intensity happen, there’s less to push against. We’re more centred and available for more kinds of situations. The simpler we are in our positioning, the more of life – and it’s complexities and intensities – we’re able to appreciate. And that’s interesting too.
Jeff: My partner Sarah and I have a running joke. I mean literally, we’re running when we make the joke. Running upstairs to attend to Sasha the incredible screaming sick baby, running downstairs to prevent toddler Eden from lighting his hair on fire, running to get groceries, running to the shower, to daycare, to cancel daycare, to the liquor store (piss off meditation), to the doctor’s office, etc. The joke is: soon we’ll get there. We’ll get to normal, to fixed, to calm, to The Balanced Life, to whatever fantasy of stability we imagine is waiting for us if only we can get the last of these fucking emails written. Just out of reach, but not out of sight. Except, of course, it’s both out of reach and out of sight. That’s what the mind does. Carrot on a stick, carrot on a stick, come on buddy you can do it. We all know how deluded this is, and yet we all fall into it anyway.
This Monday, not only will we practice acceptance – yes, this here right now is your actual life – we will also explore the possibility that your mind is completely bonkers and out of sync with reality. We will explore this in a fun way, that is, making good-natured fun of the mind. The spiritual teacher Jean Klein used to say the mind is like a fool who, after a great ballet performance, staggers on stage, pushes the dancers to one side, and bows dramatically. Reality is dancing, the mind takes credit afterwards. Hilarious!
Jeff: This Monday, we share self-regulation strategies and tap into the creativity of the community. What do you do to keep yourself functioning and fulfilled? And what’s missing when you fall apart? This discussion will happen after the sit. For the meditation, we explore two sides of being human: the caregiver, who manages conditions based on what you need in the moment, and the warrior, who trains to be OK regardless of conditions in the moment. Let’s explore!
Jeff: This meditation is inspired by an old dog friend named Socrates, who completely embodied dignity. We’re invited to channel our own inspirations for qualities we’d like to cultivate, becoming them in the space of our imagination.