Notes on a Buddhist path

Body and Soul

December 30, 2011 By | 2 Comments

A day before the end of the year and I wonder how many of us are making our lists of intentions for the coming 366 days (it is leap year you know). I’ve never been much for resolutions; even the word feels heavy and just rarin’ to pick a fight. Resolve. Resolute. Viva la resolution! Not for me. I’m more the kind of person who gets to a point in life where an obstacle arises and nothing I pull from my regular bag of tricks seems to move the problem out of my way. That is when I generally make myself sit down, ponder the problem from a distance and access the strategies for a) moving it, b) getting around it, or c) changing direction all together.

For years I’ve been banging my head into the same problem over and over again never finding a lasting solution. I’m a sugar addict. Okay, there you have it. I could easily help myself to one of everything on a dessert tray, or table for that matter. Put a loaf of bread in front of me and you’ll see me on the other end of the crumbs in no time. Sugar and carbs. Sound familiar? I eat so much better than I used to and I’ve tried my share of cleanses, but I always seem to drift back to the dull fog of a sugar induced lethargy. Oh, my candida. We can’t make it together.

About six weeks ago I went to see a naturopath deciding it was time, once again to do battle with my sweet demon resident. Marching orders in hand, she set out a modified candida diet plan to cut sugar, yeast, dairy, and fermented foods from my diet for the next year. Now, think back six weeks ago. It was near the end of November. I was about to cut out my favourite foods just in time for Christmas. ARGH!!!! It turned out to be the first holiday season in my entire life when I didn’t go into insulin shock with mountains of sugar laden goodies. Also for the first time I think I may be on the road to tackling the problem once and for all.

What was different this time after so many other times of pounding my head into the same Big Rock Candy Mountain?

This year I’ve been practicing being with the mystery, following whatever arises. Of moving from my mind and into my body and my heart, trusting the messages I’ve been hearing. Some of them are messages from a long time ago. I’ve known from a young age that writing and dance have been my direct links to spirit. I would write poems as a young girl and feel such contentment, but I didn’t know why. I would go to my ballet and jazz dance lessons, never wanting to go home. I felt the connection to something holy, something beyond the dissent within my family, the struggles of being “good” or “nice” or deserving of love beyond the boundaries of my own self worth.

After abandoning movement with many years, in the past few months I’ve reconnected with my body in a supportive and loving dance community. This blog came to life this year and the joy I feel in sending words out into the world is an immeasurable experience. Added to these is my meditation practice of the last few years that has taken me to a deep place of serenity and contact with the divine.

So, what do dance, writing and meditation have to do with visions of butter tarts and chocolate brownies carousing in my head? They are of the body, not of the mind. What they share in common is a mindful listening to what the body calls for and from that place of silent awareness comes the whisper of spirit, of our soul’s call. Of course we need the mind. There are directions to that new restaurant or balancing our checkbook or making our vacation plans, but generally the mind leads us into messes it really doesn’t care to solve.

When I eat half a pound of truffles, my mind says “just one more” while my body screamed about four truffles ago to stop, please. When I dance thinking “oh, that’s a great move; I wonder if anyone saw it?” I’m not feeling the music or my body; I’m listening to my mind, my ego and I feel the denseness of the flesh. When I can truly hear the music speak to me my body responds like a splashing stream eager to burst its banks with rapture and contentment. When my editor tries to step in while I’m typing away, the meter of my prose begins to feel heavy and tainted. If I allow the source of the words to flow through me there is an ease and play in opening to something bigger than myself, something beyond the grasp of intellectual gymnastics; an open hand offering itself up for grace and gentle guidance around the blockade of the mind’s not so best intentions. Meditation is all about following what arises in the body and letting it go, of examining the mind and seeing its charade, its movie set front that tries so hard to be big and real when it is only a cardboard cutout of what we think we want.

The three-part embrace of dance, of words and of silence is what is different this time as I make my way on a path of near sugar-free living these next 12 months, one tentative step at a time. When the mind cries out for attention begging me to reach for that chocolate bar in the cupboard, I try to take a breath instead. The clarity and peace I’m beginning to feel are worth a dozen shortbread cookies. And this time I really believe it.

What will the new year bring? I can hardly wait to find out.

Image credit: Spirit Dancer

Comments

  1. I can relate. Meditation is a wonderful way to practice non-attachment over and over again. Now if I could just be more attached to my cushion. Great blog!

    Laurie

    • Thank you Laurie! Yes, each time on the cushion is such a great and gentle reboot button to practice letting go of it all one breath at a time.

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