Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day Three of the Renewed Me

The wind-chill hit a balmy -47˚c today as I made my way to work amidst the snow drifts and windrows remaining from yesterday's blizzard and snow ploughs. Today also marked day three of my new found dedication to living a more spiritual self. So far I have refrained from eating meat, practised yoga and meditated every day. I have made regular daily entries into my thankfulness journal. My reading has consisted of a book on self-esteem recommended by my psychologist which is rooted deeply in Eastern traditions with meditation being an integral part of its foundation. Supplementary to this, I am also reading the prequel to "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior" called "The Journeys of Socrates", written by Dan Millman.

Most importantly, I've tried to be mindful in all that I do. I do not anticipate any major revelations, but rather a simply deeper enjoyment of what I am doing. Experiencing life this way has already caused me to question some of the choices that I am making. For example, I don't feel like I am ready yet to commit to being vegetarian. Perhaps it is the inconvenience of the undertaking, or a mere lack of inspiration… perhaps it's the fajita chicken breast sandwich slices that remained in our fridge that is making me feel a bit obligated toward the chicken who gave its life in that I should eat it (burying it seems a bit over the top).

My trip to the gym also leaves me feeling a bit confused. I have a pre-conceived notion that a Buddhist-yogi should be lean and… well… you know – yoga-bodied. I have always been a bit on the husky side and, with a background in Rugby and as a Correctional Officer in my past incarnations, carry a bit more muscle mass than your average Joe. I started today on the bike, but found myself craving weights. So, following my desires, I proceeded to lift weights instead. I enjoy the pump, the struggle and the burn of weight lifting. Don't get me wrong, I get a fair pump in the thighs when I am on the bike and that. I suppose the biggest thing about weights is that it tightens you up which works against one's yoga practise. I have always struggled with tightness – excessively so given my dedication as a yogi. So, in the Taoist spirit, I will simply go with what I feel like doing, be that weights or whatever. The key is to remain psychologically flexible.

I am still undecided if I will go to the Buddhist temple or not on Friday. I think I might, but I would have to arrange childcare for my daughter as my wife plays volleyball with her church group that evening. My massage therapist, who goes on Fridays to temple, has offered to share his babysitter with me so that I can go. He's also having us over for a vegetarian meal on Saturday, so I don't want to wear out the welcome mat. Then again, if someone offers something, we should not feel badly for accepting.

I won't get to any yoga classes this week, so my home practise will have to be sufficient. I am re-commencing my guitar lessons Wednesday, however. I still struggle with going out on my own to things like drop-in classes, etc.

Overall, though I would not state I have felt a marked change (and was not anticipating a major revelation), I do feel like I have lifted some inertia that was draining my joy in life. In spite all my mental meanderings here, my main focus lies simply in mindfulness and being present. I practised this when shovelling out our driveway this evening and, though it was still miserable work, I took time to notice things that I normally wouldn't. Enlightenment and Nirvana, in my opinion, is more of an "ahhh" as opposed to a lightening bolt. Life consists primarily of things we consider mundane and take for granted. That is where we must see joy. I learned that lesson somewhat last year when I broke and dislocated my big toe playing slo-pitch (please, stifle your laughter). It was a mess and resulted in surgery, a pin and several weeks in a boot cast. That same toe is now fused solid, and serves as a reminder that, though it's no longer a perfect working toe and it throbs based on the weather, remains a reminder to be grateful I am walking freely and able to run, play soccer, do yoga, etc. How many of you right now are grateful for things such as the ability to walk, to not be suffering from a cold or to be able to see and read these words? That is the beauty and joy that is life. The holidays to the tropics amidst these frigid temperatures would be nice, but life and happiness permeates more into the daily grind than in what we often call "highlights".

And so goes my journey. Off to watch "Paranormal State" now – my one guilty pleasure! It makes me laugh and, thus, joyful.



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