Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Mysteries of the Here and Now

"Developing tenderness towards yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. You don't feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. That kind of gentleness towards yourself and appreciation of yourself is very necessary. It provides the ground for helping yourself and others."--Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Tenderness towards myself is my motif this morning. A cloudy morning after a night that found me thinking of my various artistic projects and my spiritual life. I was thinking of how much dedication and persistence it takes to develop and create things.

Carolyn Myers, one of my dearest friends, visited me yesterday. She's in the midst of developing with her friend Terry Baum a new venture, Theatre of the Crackpot Crones. "Two pioneer funny feminists in a theatrical revue of sketch comedy and improvisation," their pr material states. Carolyn has written award-winning plays and is a hilariously funny improvisational comedian. Incredibly talented. She deserves wide recognition and beaucoup bucks. I hope that happens for her.

She gave me a tarot reading with a new transparent deck. It was very positive regarding my creative work. But that didn't stop me from getting a bit grouchy a few hours after she left. Maybe I should blame it on spring fever and being a bit stir-crazy from my housebound life while my foot heals. I am out of the wheelchair and now using a walker. But I still found myself thinking about what it would be like to put things on hold and live in another country for a few months.

During our visit, Carolyn and I talked about our mutual friend Julie who just spent several months in Parphing, Nepal. I was thinking about how great it would be to spend time living in a culture where religious practice is a well-accepted way of life. I'd like to be able to walk around with my mala (rosary) and not have people give me dirty looks as if praying in public is some kind of affront. Which does happen here. There is a kind of religious oppression here, an insistence on the secular ethic. Which is quite odd for a country which was founded on religious freedom. Another friend spent months working in the clinic associated with a monastery an hour outside of Khatmandu. She talked about the mountains, the stillness, the monastic community and how peaceful it was to be there and be of service in the clinic, with plenty of time to do spiritual practice. In Nepal, people my age have the freedom to rest and turn within, focusing on their spiritual practice. It's built into the culture. Older people are not trying to engage in outer accomplishments the way we do here. I could go there and do that, too. Those were my thoughts last night.

"Tomorrow is another day," as my mother used to say when things got a big ragged. And so it is. I just had my weekly mutual coaching session with my friend Mouna, which is part of our Artist Conference Network work. In the session, I took a new stand. "I am real from the heights to the depths." It's good when being real includes tenderness towards myself, especially when things get stirred up, as they do at times. Being real could include a journey to Nepal to experience that way of life. Meanwhile, whether or not I take that outer journey, I continue to take the time to meditate, pray and drop into places of deep relaxation and healing right here and now.

I was inspired to discover Tao Porchon Lynch, a 91-year old who teaches yoga at her center in Westchester, New York. Her gentle way of being and joie de vivre are quite delightful. She provides a vivid example of health, balance and gladness.

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