I notice people talk about their therapists, their “time” on the yoga mat and the latest meditative mantra they are running in a similar fashion to ordering a tall double shot skinny vanilla with a twist.
It ‘s refreshing in a way; our society seems to be awakening to the idea of awakening, of a deeper connection with each other and this place.
In fact, I’m writing today from a mindfulness retreat in southern California… a spa that feels like it’s direct from Oprah’s studios… it’s got the mud baths, the hot spring mineral bullshit, the oxygen bar… we’ve got early morning yoga, mediation, hula hoop dancing on the “activities” platform (not kidding).
All the meals have vegan, gluten free and locally grown options and are cooked by “volunteers” who each take a shift practicing selfless service.
Everyone drives a Prius.
I’ll be honest; I spent the first evening judging it all.
All I could think of was the environmental impact, the resources it took to create this place and get these people here. I wanted to interrupt the meditation and tell them to get off their asses, off the cushions, and come help me serve food to the homeless people less than a mile away.
But, as I do, I sat with my thoughts and leaned in.
I’m here to be in silence and dance with myself, to help a few folks understand happiness in a deeper way and to connect with people who seek a deeper understanding of how to navigate this world and find meaning.
My own judgment showed me that I needed to be here, in an environment that is prime ground for me to practice what I preach.
Walking this morning I was thinking about this pursuit we all seem to have. This race for enlightenment, for being better, for personal growth and accountability. (Ok, most people don’t even know what I’m talking about but for those of us who do, we’re all about it, you know?)
I was thinking about my own journey—how much I work on myself, how many tools I’ve picked up along the path—how committed I am to sweeping my own side of the street, telling the truth, not stuffing my feelings, balancing anger with compassion and action. I’m literally always working on something, always trying to be a better man.
I discovered, for some (ok, me), this constant pursuit, while noble in it’s intention, is a statement about what I think about myself.
If I’m always working on myself, in a way, it’s me saying, I’m not good enough as I am.
It’s an avoidance of accepting what is; of loving myself anyway and being kind to myself by realizing some things just simply are what they are.
Same with my physical body. Constantly pursuing making it better, hating how it is, struggling with what I have and not accepting what I don’t have.
The battle of this is epic and I’ve waged quite a war both inside and out.
But today, sitting here, judging this totally gross completely fake movie set “enlightened” environment, ( ok, it fucking rocks but you know what I mean ) I found a new mantra:
I am. My body is.