Tuesday, 8th January 2013
Last week, I sent out a field guide I wrote to launch you into New Year. As I filled my own workbook, I became inspired, introverted, and charged to take action.
Today is all about learning how to stay with it. Today I will attempt to stay with my experience. Or at least I try to stay with my experience. And when I can’t stay with the feeling or the conversation or the person or the pushup or the thing I’m doing called LIFE I will go back to day one and notice that it was hard for me to stay with it. And in that noticing, I will stay. I will linger in the feeling of staying or not staying. When I’m washing the dishes I’ll wash the plate a little longer. I won’t just try to get things done. But I’ll train myself like a little lapdog to relish in the doing, even if there’s zero sex appeal to it like riding the elevator down to the garage or putting my headphones in my ears or cutting an apple in half.
This morning I woke up late. 7:20 am. I had 40 minutes before I needed to be at the gym. I needed to eat something, get dressed, fill my water bottle, and get on the road. So I was trying to apply the practice, to stay with it. But the truth was I just wanted to get there. And yet there was a whole 40 minutes of life I could dip into before getting to point B. Surely, today would be a good day to practice the art of staying. I thought to myself, I’ll start that later. Right now I just need to go.
But then I sliced into a Daisy Girl, one of my favorite apples ever, for a quick breakfast. After the cut, I stopped or rather something stopped me. This core was so complete even as half of its original. I carefully cut the seeds out and sliced little moons of fruit for breakfast. I pressed the knife into the fruit. In that first moment there’s a bit of a natural push back, it seems. But then in the next second — a clean break, the work done, and the sound so final. Schwok.
I scooped out a heaping tablespoon of sunflower butter. But I wanted more. Like trying to not think of a pink elephant, I had not wanted to stay with it which of course made me stay with the teeny tiny hardly worth mentioning flick of a feeling. It took all my strength to hold myself back for a fraction of a second before mindlessly heaping out another scoop of butter. But I did it. I’ll play along, Denmo. So I stayed with it. I asked, Is this enough? The answer was yes. SO I looked at the feeling. It was not the action – it was bigger I want more wasn’t about the stupid butter. It was my old ass fear that I don’t have enough, or that I might not have enough, and I’ll run out and be unprepared and then become homeless. I JUST WANT MORE. Fucker. Didn’t you hear me the first time. MORE.
Hm. Wasn’t expecting that.
Clearly, dolling out a second heap of sunflower butter had consequences. This quiet drip of a fear was masquerading within an ordinary humdrum moment of breakfast making. Here’s what was sort of awesome about the whole thing. And I have to say, I didn’t think about it at all. It just sort happened. In staying with it, I felt it without reacting to its tug. Here’s how. I pulled out a baby spoon and proceeded to scoop out one large dollop from the momma spoon and then another and placed it on either side of my plate framing those provocative apple slivers. I had more AND I had enough.
Staying with it is about hanging out a wee longer than you would normally, than is comfortable. I think it’s about lingering in the thought, the encounter, the feeling, the moment BEFORE you react to the thought, the encounter, the feeling. It’s like making tea. If you strain it too early, the leaves don’t fully bloom. If you wait too long, it tastes bitter. But when you stay with it, this thing happens – where the symbol becomes clear, you know how to move forward because its so obvious, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and an apple can teach you what patience really is with such grace that you are moved — if you can stay with it.