Fruit Flavours of Self-Regulation

Jeff: For this neurodiversity-affirming meditation, you hereby have permission to be the unique way you are. Perhaps that is not hard for you, in which case, superb, I wish to learn from you. For myself, it was a long road. In this practice, I try to cater to a few different styles of attention and sensory sensitivities. There are many ways to learn to self-regulate. Before the meditation I will touch on a few, and we will also have the option to discuss this theme after the practice. Happy to be uniquely configured with you!

Grasping vs. Accepting

Jeff (and Erin): I’ve always thought the opposite of acceptance was resistance. And I’ve got plenty of that. But lately I’ve been tuning into a different way we don’t allow what’s happening, and that is by grasping or holding on. It’s a big theme in Buddhism obviously, but it has never been a big theme in my practice. I notice it now: a desperate need for THIS movie to make me happy, for THIS thing to work out, so much invested in finding the right (temporary) coping strategy for my continuous challenges.
The solution is available in a moment. Notice: “oh, I’m doing that desperate thing” – it’s a FEELING. What if, instead, I just let the thing I’m holding onto so tightly just be what it is? Then: a lightness, a buoyancy, a fresh capacity for appreciation.

This Monday night we explore grasping versus accepting.

Imagination as Care

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.

Simplicity Is Deep Life

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.

Soon We’ll Get There!

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!