A few weeks ago I wrote that I was committed to Embracing Grace in my everyday living, and as such I am keenly aware of how my thoughts and emotions, if not acknowledged and integrated, lead to behaviors that are misaligned with my intentions.
Such was the case this past weekend when I awoke to a bright sunshine and cool breezes, yet felt saddled by what Eckhart Tolle aptly calls “the pain body”. My thoughts began to dispatch a barrage of mandates to contact that person, post an update on social media, clean up my house, do a laundry, take a power walk, lose 15 lbs, and…that painting I worked on yesterday? Of, my, that is awful!
You know what I mean. I am sure some of you live with those foolish tyrants we allow to ride on our shoulders and even let them bowl us over when sleepy, tired and hungry, until we remember that the thoughts, while appearing real and are forceful, do not have power unless we let them run the show.
Embracing grace means that we look at the cast of characters as a call to consciousness and recognize the kernel of truth in their impatient mandates, but decide to look beyond the thoughts’ limited horizons.
Thankfully I learned to move away from the din by meditating.
Just breathing and just being on the cushion creates the necessary space to look at the drama as if I were in a play. From that new vantage point, I can isolate a few of the demands heard, check out their validity, ascertain their urgency and take inspired action.
Feeling refreshed, I chose to take advantage of the weather by walking at a medium pace at a nearby trail, enjoying the tree canopy, and the other walkers, bikers and runners. I immersed myself in the smells of the Spring flowers, the vivid greens that lined the road, the sounds I heard and the warmth of the sun.
Feeling my chest expanding, I stopped at a pond as a beautiful swan came into view. Another one was nearby.
A biker also stopped and while taking a picture mentioned that she had never seen them before and asked if I had. When I replied that I hadn’t, she exclaimed that we must be lucky to have shown up on this day, for swans are the very embodiment of grace, the connection to spirit and of the beauty that comes from within.
Amazing events unfold when you take charge of your thinking and the feelings these bring forth, and decide to hear their message through the lens of unlimited possibility.
May I tell you a few other coincidences that arose throughout the weekend? A radio show was exploring the meaning of body weight. It led me to focus on losing one lb a week for as long as it took to balance my weigh. A conversation with my sister reminded me what I learned through the process of creating a new painting:
Everything unfolds on its own time. When I do not like what I see, I step back and allow new images to show up.
After lunch I scheduled house cleaning and laundry for later in the week, completed this painting I call Emptiness, and scheduled social media postings before going to bed to read an inspirational book.
The painting is about expanding our one-dimensional human-bound viewpoint. We are spiritual beings learning to release all the densities restricting us, allow the light of Spirit to guide our path and share the wisdom with all who need it.
As I look at the images, the verses from the Heart Sutra, one of the most important Buddhist teachings, came to mind:
“…this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
*The translation by Thich Nhat Hanh is called The Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.
Go to Emptiness and purchase the art now.