The weather forecast for DC today was wrong, all wrong.
They touted blizzard-like conditions, and we received Thunder Slush. That’s right – a messy mix of rain, snow, wind and thunder. Still, it is roaring out there. And so March begins.
* * *
Aside from the holy days that come at the end of the month, March brings intense seasonal transition. Tomorrow I begin a two-week “Spring Ritual” that will wrap up with the March 20th Equinox. Between now and then, I will do an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse, observe my monthly New Moon fast, celebrate the Maha Shivaratri, attend my teacher’s Shiva-honoring class and enjoy a one-week Stay-Cation. My hope is to make deliberate effort in order to shake off this challenging winter and ease into a lighter spring.
Whoa. My heart rate just jumped through the roof when I typed the words “deliberate effort.” Because life takes sooooo muuuuuch wooooork (she says, with the back of her hand to her forehead, head thrown back and eyes rolled upward toward the heavens in pure dramatic flair).
No wonder I often feel tired. Even my mind is fatigued. I would love to experience a day…or even an hour…when I am not so focused on doing everything just right (she says with gritted teeth). Maybe a brief respite when I stop worrying about controlling my insides and managing the entirety of external life. A few free moments when I pause my deliberate planting of inner peace and prevention of outer chaos.
I spend so much time protecting myself and others from life’s inevitable ups and downs. I live in nearly constant fear that if I don’t do everything right in a relationship (whether family, work, friend or community), someone will harm me (abandon me, judge me, shame me, physically hurt me). It’s an awful amount of pressure.
The thing is: I know from experience that in order to avoid emotional whirlwinds, I must follow specific practices and routines.
Or must I?
The routines – YES. The elaborate plans for avoidance, protection and prevention – NO.
Even this Spring Ritual is turning out to be yet another plan to forecast my life. Hah – I can count on Shiva to set me straight here. I surrender!
Shiva: please liberate me of my clutch on life so I may fall back on your guidance with 100% trust and ease! As I embark on the next two weeks, my prayer is to be present with the process of this “plan,” to deeply feel and see and taste and smell and hear this experience. I request that my healthy routines become simply that – the things I enjoy doing in order to feel good and incidentally add to the good around me. At the same time, may I have a hands-off attitude when things don’t feel good. May I understand that you are making the plans. May I throw my arms up in pure surrender to you, Shiva. During and after these two weeks, may I grow to simply breathe, sense and be.
* * *
What if I let life happen to me?
The other day, as I was walking over to the studio to teach, I had a number of beautiful moments of pure presence, where I was nowhere but right there, in that very place. And I realized: sometimes I think way too much about how to live my life, and I miss living it altogether.
I become so excited about the phases of the moon, the year of the snake, the symbolism of lions, the weather, holy day celebrations – and my intricate and important plans surrounding all of this. And then there are moments when, all of the sudden, the sunlight hits my face through the winter window and I just stall in the comfort of that warmth… Or when I hear the doves singing from the roof or a woodpecker hammering away at the tree or spring birds chirping in the bushes and I stop everything to listen to them.
So I can enjoy a somewhat balanced amount of planning and being. (Somewhat.)
As I type, “Thunder Slush” is enveloping the Nation’s Capitol. Inside my cozy home, it’s all about classical music, hot chocolate and writing. I think today’s forecast was perfect.
“Happiness is a Butterfly which, when pursued is just beyond your grasp… but if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Thanks for reading. OM Shanti.