Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Sound of Silence: A Different Kind of Journey

It's been a long stretch of silence on the blog for me. We headed out to Kelowna in early September, to visit Young Ms. DD. Mr. DD packed his fix-it gear and his plans to work on Ms. DD's new home. I loaded the camper with spinning, knitting, crocheting and art supplies, intent on completing a number of projects while we were on the road and visiting.

I headed into the Rockies with expectations of how things would be.

I can plan all I want; the universe waits and chuckles. Whether it was the 3 day ride in the truck or the hours of crocheting a winter cap or a combination of both which set me up for trouble, the day after we arrived, I was hit with a most exquisite pain flare up which left me flat in bed for another 3 days. Nothing I did or took eased the pain; all I could do was stay still and breathe and know that, eventually, things would change. On Day 4, I was able to get up and about a bit, but I realized that, if I returned to my plans of working my way through my visit, I would be inviting another round of suffering. 

Despite all the time I've spent practising yoga and meditation, it remains difficult for me to do Nothing. I know that Being is important, but in reality, we are trained to believe that if we are not active, if we simply stay still, breathing and waiting and experiencing the moment, we are somehow doing something wrong, even if the situation that gives us the condition of Not Doing is beyond our control. I spent the first day in bed scolding myself for not taking longer breaks on our trip, for being obsessed with finishing a hat that, really, wasn't that great, for causing concern in my family, for not being stronger, better, whatever. Eventually, my yoga training kicked in (I'm a slow learner sometimes) and I was able to accept reality, to remember the wise words a cousin told me - "Rest and meditation are healing, too." - and focus on working with what was happening, not what I wished to be. I spent a lot of time working with being attentive to each breath, noting how pain changes and flows. I did the Ten Mindful Movements in my mind. I enjoyed the cats who curled themselves around me. I rested. Sometimes I cried.

Clouds on the mountain.

Slowly, slowly, I began to feel better, physically and mentally. (Pain tends to come with an extra bonus of a downward spiral into depression and anxiety, which is often more difficult to deal with than the physical sensations.) I was able to sit in Ms. DD's backyard patio, in the shade of lilacs, cedars and oak trees. In good moments, I practised the Ten Mindful Movements with my body and mind. I took photographs and painted in my trip journal. I stayed away from fibre work, but I did a lot of project planning. One brave day, I walked up the mountain to an apple orchard above my daughter's neighbourhood and I enjoyed the view from the top of the hill. I spent most of my time observing, feeling and hearing the breezes blow through the trees, smelling the crisp, fresh fall air and appreciating the ever changing colours of autumn. I lived a lot of time in silence. 

At the top of the mountain, Kelowna, B.C.

Beauty in small things: Artist's Bracken on a burned out log, Williamson Lake, Revelstoke, B.C.

Strange as it sounds, I was able to enjoy myself in the moments of pain - not the pain itself, but the experiences given to me because of that pain. I would have much preferred to travel without pain, to do the things I normally do when I'm in my favourite places. No Pain trumps Pain every time; however, when I'm stuck with discomfort, I am reminded that the value yoga and meditation has for me doesn't lie in being able to do complex asana or having out of body experiences. Yoga and meditation support me in times when things are not going well. They help me to work with my In Body experiences. Yoga teaches me that it really is about the journey, not the destination.

We're home now and I am healing, although I'm moving quite slowly and staying away from too much activity. Every time I'm tempted to move into high gear, I stop, breathe and listen, to the world around me, to the world within me. Yoga teaches us that we are Nature, sitting, waiting, experiencing what comes and what changes. It's a simple path, sometimes not so easy to to travel, but here's the thing - we don't need to Do anything to learn the lesson. We just have to Be.

Obstacles in the water make the lake no less beautiful.



  1. I'm glad you are starting to feel better, Deb! I agree with you, to Do nothing is really hard!

    Take care!