Remembering

I’m still learning all the swank features on the laptop I bought a couple of months ago. I can swipe my fingers on the trackpad and all sorts of things will happen: my desktop separates all currently open windows or I go back on the webpage I’m visiting – a variety of different events will occur depending on what I do with a wave of my hand. As co-users of any of the computers in the Ashram bookstore and office can attest, I really like these features. I like being able to navigate quickly through the myriad of things I may be digitally engaged with at any one time. In some ways this is because I like to multitask and keep a wide awareness of things that are concurrently happening. Another simple explanation is that I have trouble focusing on only one thing at a time. Both points remain equally valid though casting me in entirely different lights.

I was perusing the internet recently – keeping up on my correspondence, I’m sure, as well as doing who knows how many other things(!) — and I got stopped on a picture that I scrolled onto my screen. Swami Radha talks about having reminders of the Divine around us so that we can remember, so that we can continually place our awareness on that higher vibration that exists in, around, and through our lives. I love having little symbols, sayings, and pictures around. The picture I saw was one of Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of the Bhagavad Gita. Immediately upon seeing it I froze. I just stopped everything I was doing. I sensed breath enter into me and my heart soften and relax. In a split second I recognized and connected with the intention behind the image: here is Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, the preserving aspect of the Divine, connecting with His most beloved friend Arjuna. That’s me, I’m Arjuna. And Krishna’s loving compassion to guide me through life is ever present.

Immediately upon regaining my awareness of my surroundings (or, you know, about .26 seconds later. Holding single-pointedness of mind is a fleeting thing!) I popped the picture onto my computer desktop to keep its colourful communication with me. Today I absently swiped my fingers in a way I don’t usually and all the windows that were currently open on my screen cleared away. Left in ineffable glory was the exchange occurring between Krishna and Arjuna. I had the same sort of reaction the first time I saw it and took a moment to pause and reconnect, inhaling breath into me and tension out of my shoulders where I notice it pooling lately.

I’m taking this moment of mindfulness and extending it outwards. I extend it out into my arms as I pull weeds from the herb garden at the nature centre, or through the drill I use to bore a hole into the concrete of the Habitat for Humanity house as I was framing the closets. I extend it into interactions with people I see behind a grocery till, walking on the street, or people I see regularly. Most of all I extend it into the emanations of my heart continually expending and refilling with every inhalation and exhalation. Breath and relaxation can find their way into every part of my day. All I have to do is remember.

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Time Marches On

The sun sets behind the mountain overlooking Hobb’s Pond, my favourite little swimming hole, at around 8:15. Of course it’s past the Summer Solstice now so that hour will begin to slowly inch closer and closer to the heat of the day. It’s that heat that warms the water so incredibly, making it seem as though I slip my body into a lukewarm bath as I immerse myself into it. It’s not so warm that it seems unpleasant, yet my Canadian body isn’t quite used to lakes being so inviting.

After a strong push to finish the boat she is now in the water and not in the shop near Hobb’s Pond. A day of boat work would often finish off with a stop at the Hope general store for a sandwich to bring to the small beach to nosh on after a refreshing swim. The water’s edge leans into the narrow-laned boat launch leaving only enough room for one side to be littered with the cars of swimmers. Luckily the motorcycle makes it difficult to find a parking lot full, even a parking lot as hodge-podge as Pond Road’s abrupt end into lapping water.

The full moon is tonight and this late date finds Full Moon, a hand-made Rozinante the same age as me, finally and firmly secured to her anchor in the Camden Harbour. All the work has paid off; she barely leaked upon launch. The sail from the launching harbour to its mooring in Camden was certainly an enjoyable afternoon. I now find myself living on a boat.

In a way it’s kind of anticlimactic. I don’t mean I’m not excited and looking forward to sailing trips and open ocean mornings, but that I came to live on a boat and ok, now I live on a boat so now what? Immediately my mind jumps outward, not quite further than the base of energy that remains within me after the simple tasks of living are completed can handle, but almost. Shall I go back to school next fall? For what? What do I enjoy doing now that I want to expand on? What about teaching? I have notions in my head about what I want to offer yet I still seem to be stalling when it comes to implementing said notions.

I’m watching myself change. I’m not reflecting as much or as aware of the thoughts that spill forth through my consciousness. I’m living in the world and focusing on a myriad of many things. Like the sun’s minute of setting over Hobb’s Pond, I am participating in the cycles of life. We’ll see where I allow them to take me to next.

Om Om

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Ocean Sunrise

Connection

I walked into the main building at Merryspring Nature Centre to use the bathroom and poked my head into the office. “Hello Guenevere!” greeted me as the program director and I exchanged good mornings. Being welcomed with my first name – what an uncommon experience this past month. I haven’t been volunteering at Merryspring’s for too long, yet getting to know the small staff has been rewarding in a town in which I can scan the greens of a park, packed with a crowd on the fourth of July, and not know a single person. Coming from the interconnectedness of Lethbridge, without even getting into how, as a member of the welcome centre, I knew at least the name of every single person at the Ashram, this stark anonymity is a bit of a shock.

What I do know about myself is that I’m an introvert. It’s taken a few years and Susan Cain’s great book on the subject to figure out that introvert doesn’t necessarily mean shy, but the routine of elementary school library-day and the subsequent station on the couch I would set up for myself to read that week’s new goodies reveal to me that I relish in solitude. Growing up out of town creativity was certainly a must and sometimes even now the games I would come up with pop into my head at times. There was hockey and bike rides with Smokey – my ever-doting canine companion – singing on the swing to the sugar beet audience, perfecting my hook-shot on the basketball court, and, the ever popular, lava rides with my stuffed animas. Yes, growing up with three older brothers on an acreage eight miles out of town must have had something to do with my activities containing such solitude, but the fact remains that I simply enjoy my own company. If I were more energized by socializing with others I would certainly have found ways to do so.

Where does this leave me after plonking myself into a brand-new town in a foreign country on the other side of the continent? It leaves me seeking community. Not in a way that thinks my quality of life will only be satisfactory with at least seven units of time spent in the company of other people, but in a way that recognizes I enjoy heartfelt connections with people other than the multitude of personality aspects running rampant, at times, in my head.

And so I seek community. I find it in places that I am drawn to. It doesn’t take much thought to recognize that things I enjoy doing will draw people who also enjoy doing those things and that people who enjoy doing the same sorts of things that I do are bound to be super-cool. So I pick weeds in the garden at the community nature centre. The gardener is laid-back and friendly, helpful and empowering. There’s no rigid structure that I fit my gardening into, I get to retain my humanness as an expressive, flowing being without fear of failure or doing something wrong. Gardening isn’t an exact science. It’s a dance, an interaction between myself and nature. I get to guide the unfathomably powerful force of nature in a particular direction and, in turn, nature gets to decide wether or not to co-operate.

It’s a dance that I like to partake in, a dance in which the music never stops. The buzz of a hostile yellow-jacket momentarily overpowers the symphonic ringing of the myriad of hungry mosquitoes. Imperceptible wind touches the tops of the trees and coaxes last night’s light rain off their temporary landing pad of glossy green leaves. Every rustle and drop all occurring in time with the Great Conductor’s precise baton.

Volunteering in the company of others by spending time in the garden allows me to ultimately reconnect with myself and the part of me that flows in time with that great baton. Sometimes the way I do that is in the close company of friends, new or old and sometimes lost in a book in my woodland tent. For now my sphere grows steadily outwards and I’m beginning to see a few familiar faces dot the tourist-lined streets of Camden.