A guest submission by one of our loyal customers: Amanda Connell.
I walked down to the river yesterday evening to catch a bit of the sunset. It was so quiet. The river’s current was moving gently as it reflected the sky, turning shades of pink and baby blue. My dog stood with me as I stared blankly at it all.
I was met with immense beauty and calm, and yet the only thought I could muster was “this is not enough”. I know the feeling well: one of disconnect, one of numbness, one of yearning for more. I also know what practices and commitments are necessary to appease those unsettling sensations, despite not having used them for some time.
It’s easy and completely acceptable to explain away a sense of being lost in a time like this. Collectively we have all been facing the challenges of uncertainty brought on by crises of this scale. Some of us have spent months working diligently on our craft, many of us have had major struggles in attempting to focus on anything at all. It’s important to recognize that it is not a binary. It is not all or nothing, success or failure, extreme focus and productivity or chronic rest and lethargy. We are whole beings, experiencing a range of sensations and energies at once, and always.
For much of the past four months I have worked to deepen my meditation practice. I have immersed myself in the world of tarot, moon rituals, radical compassion, and self-care. I recognize and am grateful for the massive privilege I have which has allowed to me to do this. And yet, I slip out of those routines, routinely. The struggle has become staying on track long enough to disappear the feeling of “this is not enough”. The struggle is real. Not only is progress not a binary, it is also non-linear. A constant reminder I must give myself. I will fall off the horse and get back on, sometimes multiple times in a day. Sometimes I won’t get back on for multiple weeks.
We often consider adaptation as a thing we need to do in relation to the outside world. Adapt to these conditions, adapt to this environment, adapt to the people around you. The lesson I think I’m beginning to learn - as I look outward with an utter sense of disconnect - is that there is much adapting within that needs to happen in order for me to feel connected to the world around me.
Just like a river constantly in motion, we too are bodies of water in a constant state of flux. What goes on inside our hearts and minds is intensely changeable. In meditation we try to observe this movement, unattached. This is challenging of course. Many people (myself included) sometimes feel that they “can’t meditate”. I would argue that the work outside of meditation is has a more dynamic (and incredibly difficult) quality.
Adapting to the ever-changing nature of what goes on inside of us is a life long project. I’d like to believe that compromise and compassion for ourselves will help us meet the immense beauty and calm within.
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” Hermes Trismegistus