How to welcome the joys of life

Waxing Root Moon

After two months of struggling with my new meditation practice at sunrise and sunset, I’m finally getting the hang of it.

My main point of difficulty is the sunrise meditation. I never wake up in the right state of mind to meditate. My thoughts race away with me in all directions. They don’t settle very easily. And as the sun rises earlier with the coming Spring, getting up for the sunrise gets harder every day.

Of course, given my life circumstances at the moment, it is not surprising that I’m stressed, or that my thoughts tend to wander to which wall in the bungalow I should paint first that morning. It’s normal to be stressed when life is changing so drastically.

But a few things are different.

The first change came with Imbolc, when I re-connected with a practice that has been valuable to me before. It’s called the Dance of Life and it is a moving meditation with a chant that is done every morning when my spiritual family gathers. I have taken it home and practised it in the mornings before. It has the benefit of getting me out of my mind and into my body. And because of its weaving movements, it connects me quite literally to the beings who surround me. After three rounds of the Dance of Life, I feel a lot more settled.

Secondly, the weather has changed dramatically in the last few days. Straight after flurries of snow, we have had four of the most gorgeous, sunny and mild Spring days I can remember. All of Nature is breathing a sigh of relief and waking to the new light. And I am waking with it.

And finally, I have remembered something important. When I am that tense, when I find it impossible to settle and my muscles ache, it means I am putting effort into holding myself together. In some way, I am fighting reality and not finding peace with what is. It’s not a good way to go, and it’s bad for my physical, emotional and spiritual health.

What I am doing when I’m tense like that is literally putting up defences. We all naturally hold a space around ourselves. You know this most clearly when someone unexpectedly enters your personal space. It makes you uncomfortable and you will shift to preserve it. When you feel vulnerable, you will strengthen and thicken the edges of your space. They will relax and become more permeable when you relax.

My defences tend to be quite sturdy at the best of times. I have to remind myself to relax and to trust. And while I’m living in a house that’s not my own, doing physical work every day, and wondering how we’re going to get everything done, my defences have begun to resemble mediaeval fortifications.

If I want to meditate, and stay sane, I need to soften those defences and let in the joys of life again. And I do it by inviting beauty into my personal space.

This morning, I asked the gentle light of the rising sun to paint the edge of my personal space. I let my defences become sunrise-coloured. Soon, I felt a lot better, and could sense my castle wall beginning to thin. I asked the snowdrops by the apple tree to do the same. Their gentle bobbing motion began to fill my awareness, and after a while I could feel how my defences had become permeable. The energy of the snowdrops had pierced it, and I was sharing my space with them.

It works beautifully. You can do it with sunlight, moonlight, bird song, flowers, trees, your cat, a friend. You can welcome anything into your personal space and share its energy. It’s a joyful experience and lifts my spirits every time.

I still struggle to meditate in the morning, but at least I have a place to start. I’m looking forward to finding out who will join me in the morning.

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