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Submitted by Margarita M. on Tue, 2/7/2012, 1:27pm
My mood is best described as annoyed or aggravated on this seventh day of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge. And sure, there are reasons. Phases of the moon and such. Today is Full Moon day according to the Alexander McQueen calendar on my wall. Maybe it's PMS. Or it could be due to my stepping out of my comfort zone with a new relationship. Perhaps I'm stressing out because I need to find a new roommate for my apartment and I'm losing money every day that room sits empty.
I'm cranky. To put it another way, I'm experiencing crankiness. Or, better yet, this is what cranky feels like. I've been practicing meditation for several years now in a more than less regular fashion so although the mind is more than happy to provide reasons for my cranky mood I'm not quite buying it.
Last night I went to Tibet House for a meet-up with Sharon Salzberg for this 28-Day Challenge. I didn't want to go, but I went. I practiced being gentle with myself. When I didn't feel like talking to anyone during the break I sat in my chair and waited. I didn't check my iPhone to commune with email, or Facebook, or Twitter. I watched and listened to my inner mindstream that sounded something like this: "What do you think you're doing just sitting here? That's so lame! Aren't you here to meet people, talk to people? What are you anti-social? Look, that woman there looks lonely, why don't you talk to her? That's the compassionate thing to do. What is everyone going to think of you? They'll think you're a bitch. They'll think you don't like them. You'll never fit it. You'll never really be part of a group. Why don't you make an effort and talk to some people? Or at least take out your phone so you look busy. This is ridiculous just sitting here as people around you are talking to each other."
It took some willpower, but last night I didn't get up and I didn't take out my phone. I gently reminded myself over and over again that what and who I am is ok. If I don't feel like talking to people right now - hey, that's ok. If I'm worried I look silly sitting here alone - that's ok. The crankiness, the pouty-ness, the self-pity, the frowny face... Those are all impermanent states, not who I am.
In the sitting practice of meditation we learn to notice thoughts. And we learn to return to the breath. This is extraordinarily difficult and incredibly empowering. I'm grateful for the practice in helping me to find the spaces between myself and my thoughts. I know that I am not my thoughts. Thoughts come and go, pretty ones, mean ones, nasty ones, painful ones, annoying ones, heart-breaking ones and blissful ones.
Before I began practicing meditation I used to try to reason myself out of my feelings, nag myself out of the truth of my experience, and punish myself for not being "right". Today it's different. I'm sure that eventually I will find a roommate. I will discern the truth of my new relationship. I will nail down more yoga teaching gigs, more writing gigs and shine a light for all the world. Today I don't feel benevolent. I feel crabby, frustrated and annoyed. Can I let myself feel that 100% as an old acting teacher of mine advised? Can I accept myself as I am right now - with uncertainty, PMS, frowning, achy, aggravated, pissy, grouchy, metaphysical warts and all? Dare I say it - this too is part of the whole, the dharma, the realness of my life experience.
Check out all The Interdependence Project Blog team posts for the 28-Day Meditation Challenge.
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