Friday, September 26, 2014

Meditation 106 - In Real Life

Miss Vicki came with me last Monday.  She'd tried to sit before, on her own, but found it difficult to concentrate.  Tempting her with lunch at Prep and Pastry beforehand, she was willing to try Yogi Marsha and the group at UAMC.

Over chicken and brie on focaccia and roasted beet salad, once we got the ice tea situation squared away we talked.  Her life is changing and, as always, I had an opinion on everything.  Luckily, she sometimes finds my opinions to have value; she always encourages me to speak openly.

Yes, denizens, she's a brave one, indeed.

When she told me that her mother had once said the same thing, we both took a moment..... and then we moved on.  As she drove us down to the hospital parking lot, encountering the first ever traffic jam at the entrance gate, she wondered what the group was like.  Settling, introducing, listening, sharing, meditating in the silence, first sitting, then sharing, then, usually, walking ever so slowly and mindfully, every piece of our soles touching the earth.  Yogi Marsha knows that the mind wanders; she encourages us to notice the distraction without judgment and then to return to our mantra and our breath. 

Just typing it calms me. 

As I was describing the process, I had an epiphany.  I have acquired a particular skill set in these Monday meditation sessions.  I used it, unconsciously, without planning, without even realizing that I was engaged in mindfulness until I was talking to Miss Vicki several days later. 

It was a two-fer, for sure.

It happened during a small group Pilates session.  We were four women, veterans on the equipment, capable of Level 2 and Level 3 pieces, and I was on one end of the row.  Understanding my body's limitations, the instructor gave me a baby-sized version on the piece the other three would be doing.  I was shown some intense, small, pelvic movements and admonished to deepen the crease of my hip as she turned to the other three. 

Balanced Body Reformer
That's the equipment we were using - the reformer.  Developed by Joseph Pilates during his time in a hospital recovering from war wounds, the combination of springs and pulleys allows the student to enhance her performance while maintaining strict control.  At least, that's the plan.  I was standing with my left foot on the ground, my right toes curled under as my right heel pressed against those headrests in the middle. I was facing the raised bar. My job was to curl and extend my pelvis, without moving the carriage.  As always, as I was admonished, as is most difficult for me, I concentrated on deepening the fold between my belly and my thigh. 
Easy it is not.  As I watched my classmates standing on the black mat, one foot on the raise bar, moving the carriage back and forth, maintaining posture and balance  and core strength, I realized that I was crying.  Through the sweat pouring from my forehead and my scalp, coursing down my face were very salty tears. 
The teacher's back was to me; the others were trying not to fall.  No one noticed.  I noticed.  I said to myself, "I am crying."  I looked around my heart and explored the insides of the tears for a bit, but I didn't attach much emotional content to what I found.  It was just there.
We moved on to our other sides, my tears subsided, my self-pitying moment passed, and life went on.  I remembered crying. I mentioned it to TBG.  It wasn't a big deal.  It just was.
In describing Yogi Marsha's approach to Mindfulness and Meditation to Miss Vicki, I flashed to that scene on the reformer, and I had an aha! moment. I had been mindful of the fact that I was crying, but I didn't judge.  I was neither angry nor sad nor anything other than crying.  I wandered around the why's and the why not's for a little bit, but again, I didn't judge.  And then, I moved on.
All of you who have known me for any length of time must be shaking your heads in disbelief.  I am the most judgmental person I know, especially when it comes to judging myself.  That I hadn't chastised myself nor felt sorry for myself nor reminded myself of how far I'd come meant that I had been truly in the moment, mindful.
I felt better all afternoon.

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