To Stare At the Clouds

July 27, 2011  |  Uncategorized

“Life is more than just increasing its speed.” M. Ghandi

Why do we so rarely give ourselves permission to slow down?

Twelve of us pondered this after sharing a one day retreat, Embracing the Wind, facilitated by Bev Sweeney and myself. Some spoke of their initial hesitation to spend a day in silence. The preference was to socialize at least during lunch.

But we discovered the deep bonding that occurs with shared silence. Practicing chi gung together, led by Bev, we dropped into a quiet flow.  Music and poetry eased us deeper.  We experimented with a walking meditation, aware of each footstep and how it blesses the earth.  Walking slower and then slower still was delicious.

The day encouraged a heightened awareness to sniff the flowers, listen to the birds and really taste the sweet, sour, bitter, and salty nuances of our food.  We discovered gifts in nature,  metaphors with private messages for us.  We revelled in  the wonder of our own breath, the throb of our own hearts.

Bev shared a bit of chi gung wisdom with us that really struck home.  She said to give it not 110%, not 100% but 70%, holding back that 30%.  A gentle movement with energy to spare.  For many of us, raised to push past our limits, to rush and battle with life, this was a revelation. Being tender with ourselves is a rare and important lesson.

I had just heard of some young mothers who were complaining about all the driving they did for their kids after school, off to dance class, to soccer, to piano lessons.  One mother originally from West Africa said nothing until she was pressed.  What do your children do after school?

I make them lie down on the lawn every day for a half hour to stare at the clouds.

For a poem on the subject of Pause, click here.

Enjoy the clouds!

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