As summer slowly turns to fall with the setting sun edging towards the horizon noticeably earlier each day, my stepson becomes a freshman in high school, and I begin my first job search in 6-7 years (since my health has been improving) I am put in touch with the nature of impermanence. Everything changes!
Hand in hand with the practice of embracing impermanence is the practice of letting go. Oftentimes in order to embrace one thing we must be able to let something else go. In order to embrace fall we must let go of the summer. To embrace our children as they grow and mature we must be able to let go of who they once were and how we, as parents, once treated them. Everything and everyone are of the nature to change. The more we expect things and people and ourselves to stay the same the more we will continue to be disappointed when the opposite inevitably happens.
Part of what I love about cultivating a mindfulness practice and Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition is that what we are being drawn towards and connected to is the art of simply being just as we are. To embrace ourselves fully and engage with life and those around us fully. To open our mind and our heart and let it all in.
There is nothing special we need to do, no one in particular we need to show up as. We do what we are already doing and we continue to be as we already are. We aren’t waiting for life to get better or for ourselves to “improve” because life is amazing and awesome right now – and so are we!
Sometimes the most beneficial thing for us to do is to just be.
Even before participating in our town’s first annual Bare as You Dare naked bike ride through town yesterday I questioned whether to write about it here on my blog. I often ponder what to write about through the week but this was a little bit different. Ultimately it came down to a fear of stigma – fear of what people would think about me knowing I partook in this bike ride, fear of disapproval, fear of misperceptions and judgements – and since that’s not a skillful reason whatsoever to avoid doing something here we go!
The first naked bike ride, I read today in our local news, took place in Spain in 2004. Since then they have spread to cities all over the world. One of the biggest is the World Naked Bike Ride every year in Portland, OR, which drew around 9,000 people this year. Many of them started as a protest to big oil and promote bike riding. And of course different people participate for different reasons. Some people go to support and embrace differing body images, some go as a symbol to vehicular drivers that bike riding makes one vulnerable and to draw attention to sharing the road. Some people go to promote that nude isn’t lewd and some go to be free and exercise their right to free speech. And some, like me, go because it sounds fun!
Life is worth loving and appreciating and embracing while it is available to us. Please enjoy it – love it – live it – rejoice in its presence. One day we will pass on from this life and it will be too late to go back.
This moment, right now, this is it! The only moment to live and love is right now.
Many of us do not smile very much. We may find that we will offer a smile around others who smile but when left to our own devices we may not smile very often at all. Smiling is a practice that we all benefit from. To practice smiling is also to practice joy.
Red Rocks, Montana
Today I ventured out for a solo adventure and ended up at Red Rocks, up the Johnsrud Park Road off of highway 200. Along the way I checked out day use spots along the Blackfoot River, meandered around different rocky beaches, and took my time checking out new pockets of beauty.