Travelling around the state we live in these last couple of weeks of summer vacation I try something new. First stop my brother-in-law’s ranch. One hundred acres of quiet, a great opportunity to hear The Whisper. That still calm voice deep inside of me.
I hear my whisper over and over nudging me gently, reminding me of my desire to meditate. I know meditation is not a quick fix to stress. I realize it doesn’t change my world immediately. But I am aware of its power over time.
So on our first morning at the ranch, I respond to The Whisper and sit under a tree with my cup of coffee. Barefoot and maintaining a cross legged position? Nope. Thank you very much. Instead I sit comfortably in chair. My watch tells me it is 9 am. Twenty minutes is the goal. Here I go.
Placing my coffee cup on the grass I look out at the horses, greet the five black newborn calves with a wave, nod at the red barn, smile at the tall grass and close my eyes. I was going to be like Liz Gilbert in Eat Pray Love and “smile, even in my liver.”
Wag, wag, ruff, ruff, here come the dogs. I instinctively grab my coffee saving it from its demise. I let the dogs settle around me, I close my eyes again.
I let my mind ease into this space, I let the wind be my music and the birds and bugs background, going back to my breath when my mind starts going away from this place. This tree, this wind, this time for me to be. Just be.
I open my eyes and smile at the hillside, remind myself to smile, even in my liver. I close my eyes again.
The sun warms my face and just as suddenly the breeze cools it. I open my eyes, a horse walks by fifty yards in the distance, a magpie whistles. I take a peek at my watch, 9:14. I pick up my coffee cup and taste the warm bitterness and smile in my liver. I don’t beat myself up for opening my eyes. No room for chastising. No rules for being. Except one, show up.
So I show up under the tree the next two mornings. I show up a week later at the ocean. I listen to the nudge, the desire for I know by doing something over and over will make it part of my day, part of my life, part of who I am.
I carry myself with me across the state on our travels lightly. Not beating myself up for opening my eyes and peeking at the ocean. Not thinking myself a failure at meditation if I stop and open my eyes. Instead I close them again, just like I will do again tomorrow morning. And again the next time. All so that I can be ever more aware of my world around, and within me.
by J.G. McGlothern