I'm laying in my bed, awake, staring at the ceiling. The sun is up and peeking in my blinds. I want my book to focus my mind on something, but it's on the desk. I don't want to disturb the dogs by getting up and getting it.
To want. The implication of lacking or needing something outside the moment, that the moment is not perfect and to accidentally instill a cycle of dependency.
"I want to feel better."
"I want to be healed."
"I want that book."
"I want my mind to be still."
It is perfect, however, this moment. Everything is how and where it should be right now, right here, right in this moment.
I decide to meditate instead of want the book. I lay on my back and tuck the pillow under my knees slightly and place my hands at my sides and close my eyes.
Starting with the top of my head, I think: my mind is still, I am healed, I am healthy, I am open to all possibility, My mind is perfect in this moment. Then I notice my mind starts to wander. It wanders to the way my shaved hair feels under my hair. It notices its own wandering and mirrors that up against the word 'healthy'. It begins to dream imaginary things like my elderly neighbor in the back with the long white braid down her back shoveling dirt over my chain link fence in the notorious corner of my back yard. It is notorious because the ground has seemed to have eaten the fence line here and only two feet of the four foot fence peeks from the dirt, the only illuminated corner of the yard. My mind wanders to the imaginary need to clean the hall bathroom - which in reality was just completed during the past few days - but my eyes look down into the rings in the sink and bathtub. My awareness begins to come back to my body. I notice my forehead, face and nose are relaxed and my skin is cool.
My awareness drifts to my throat, neck, chin and mouth. I feel a lump in my throat. A lump that is becoming more and more familiar to me. I worry, then I think: I am healed, I am healthy, I am open to all possibility, My throat is perfect in this moment... I am healed, I am healthy, I am surrounded by love. My mind walks though its thoughts like a child at the edge of a forest with many paths. It sees the little bowl at the base of my throat where my clavicle meets each other. It feels my esophagus and communicates with the cells that they are loved and happy. It travels up my esophagus to my tongue and my mouth and my mouth remembers so many wonderful kisses. Kisses so luscious like taking big bites from over ripe peaches or nectarines, but so much better. Kisses like connection that embraces your whole self both in this world and in outer space - where your cells expand and contract and you become one with everything. Soft, lovely kisses.
My mind drifts down to my shoulders and collarbone, which I had broken just 19 months ago. My thoughts carry an apology to my collarbone which holds no screws and went under no surgery, but instead found its own way to reunite itself and still awkwardly yet discreetly protrudes upward slightly. My mind focuses it's thoughts: I am healed, I am healthy, I feel good and strong. I am healed. I am healthy. I am thankful.
My abdomen begins to call for attention and my mind drifts to the area around my stomach: I am healed, I am healthy. I feel the same knot in my stomach as I did in my throat. I am healed. My stomach is perfect in this moment. My stomach is healed, it is healthy. My mind wanders off to the conversation I had with my friend last night. I had said I needed to lose twenty pounds after returning from the ladies room at the bar. While I was in there, I squeezed all the fat on my waist. About two inches, I gleaned. Ten pounds per inch, I thought. I gained weight. All the beer probably. Man, I love good beer. I've been eating pretty well, however: lots of vegetables and smoked salmon and tofu. My lifestyle has changed. My body is transforming. My friend says, You do not need to lose twenty pounds! I need to lose ten pounds, so you do not need to lose twenty!
My mind becomes aware of my hips. I feel my mind say: I am healed, I am healthy, my hips are perfect in this moment, this moment is every moment, every moment is now, I am healed, I am healthy, I am present. My mind sees my body riding the bicycle and walking the dogs and jogging and streeeettttcccchhhhinnngggg these hips in yoga class. My mind searches the veins for rapid circulation and speeds it along. Then to soften the muscles in my legs and rear to allow opening, relaxation and good health. I remember the dance floor. I hear the blues grinding on the axe. I am shuffling around, twisting my hips. The lights are blue and purple. The music is good.
I go into darkness for a little while. I dream. I float. When I emerge, my awareness goes to my knees. I say: My knees are healthy, my knees are healed. I travel inside my skin under my patella and fluff the cartilage like a pillow. I press the circulation to bring oxygen and vitalization to my knees.
I feel my calves from my mind with a gentle scan. My legs are healed. My legs are healthy. I am thankful of my legs.
I scan my feet. I feel my arches and my joints and the pads of my feet. My feet are healed. My feet are healthy. My mind produces my lacrosse ball to roll around in my arches. Thumbs press my pads. Hands wrap around and squeeze these feet that carry me everywhere. There is no want. There is only this moment. This moment all the time. What am I doing in this moment? I reflect is what I need to ask to check in with myself. All the moments are connected, as I am connected to the moments.
It is many moments later.
Now that is in the past.
Now, I have my books here at the table with me and I am ready to read. The dogs are up. I have my coffee. My body which contains me feels good. Want is a choice and there is no want - only connected moments to pay close attention to.
I am sitting at the table outside listening to the birds as I type and the dogs are keeping a mighty eye out for squirrels in the single large oak tree that sits in the middle of the yard that is so large it shades me, shades the house and shades the whole yard - minus the one notorious illuminated corner.
If anyone has ever made me feel "normal" it is Nicolette Niman of Niman Ranch. Thats right, Ranch. Being a vegetarian from 8-24 years old, I am very good at cooking vegetables. Nicolette Niman wrote a book called Defending Beef. She also was a vegetarian. What made both of us change back was the resurgence of the family farm. (I highly recommend looking for her TED talks also btw which I have not seen, but if you don't have time for a book and want the cliffs notes, could be the way to go).
That all said, I am really liking the word 'inclusive'. My son and i had a conversation the other day about the Herbivorous Butcher and he said, "Yea, its a shame so many people hear the word 'vegan' and automatically think it's gross." It is unfortunate, isn't it? Yet most omnivores still don't really know where their animal products come from and that is perfectly OK. I wonder, are people just trying one thing one time and throwing that label on it? Are people just really unwilling to try because it's 'weird' stepping outside the ol' comfort zone? Whatever the reason is, I don't really care. I just find it strange and somewhat annoying. That said, we're going to do a little product sampling of this Herbivorous Butcher ... but it isn't because we aren't perfectly happy with the colorful variety of lovely vegetables! We are just going to try something new. And I cannot wait! All these little experiments and food adventures are kind of like Christmas morning.
Now back to the word 'inclusive'.
I have a friend who started a private school. Honestly, sometimes I think she started it because she is as outside the box as I am and equally as frustrated with the blind conformity. I mean the horrible lunches and school foods and the lack of eco consciousness. My kids couldn't even bring their own lunch boxes to their fine Naperville middle school. Each of my three children were given lunch boxes and in middles school each of them asked me to give them brown paper bags because of peer pressure which is exactly where our story gets complicated. You see, it is a cultural issue, not a policy issue. So, where were the adult supervisors? I don't know.
She told me that at their school they even offered a Christian bible study if the students were interested. Of course, they also offer meditation and crystal energy study and so on. The point is, they were inclusive ... despite the criticism from say, local Christians. Why is one party inclusive and another so afraid?
I have a lot of questions, don't I? I know. I wonder, do you have a lot of questions, dear reader? I bet you do. Well, there is hope. Tairi, the founder of the school, is creating her own answer and I am lucky enough to know her, despite our differences, and also interview her about how she found and created some of her own answers ...and I will be writing about it here, in the Peace Planet Journal.
Now, that complicated question of cultural issues is a sticky one isn't it? There are no easy answers, but we're tough. We don't need easy. We could settle with intelligent, however. Thats why I love the Herbivorous Butcher. They also are creating their own answers. Another dear friend of mine who was also sweet enough to let me interview her is Dianne Peterson. She and her husband Bob had lived in Sweden for a while. Bob, aka Robert Nishikawa, PhD, is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. "He wants to save lives," she modestly says. They lived and he worked in Sweden and what she found was that the people there didn't know it was strange to ride their bikes in the rain, or haul their recyclables with a load of children in tow on bikes, or rush off to school or work ... even when late ... by bicycle. She said there was a saying, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Is it equivalent to say, there are no such thing as bad people, just bad choices? There is a correlation between cancer and environment. We know this. What a downer, right?!
So, when will the cultural shift occur? What will we continue to tolerate? When will we say enough is enough? Yep. I do have a lot of questions, but I believe we have the answers. And I love it that so many people are out there creating their own answers.