Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Softening Around the Pleasure

Today is rest and recovery for me after yesterday's eye exam, which involved three different kinds of drops and bright lights.  This doesn't give me migraines, but I felt the chemical disruption the rest of the day, a certain confusion, a bad stomach.  I could see the yellow stain from the drops still coming out of my eyes onto tissues in the evening.  All this reminded me that I am seventy.

So does my slow arising most mornings, certainly this one.  I slept until my phone alarm nagged me to take my 9:30 a.m. immunosuppressants.  It was past 11:00 when I finished morning things like nasal rinse and practice and made myself the perfect breakfast.  Perfect for this moment.

Supremely digestible Malt-o-Meal with a little butter from our friend, the cow, some Ghiradelli chocolate chips, a few walnuts and maple syrup.  Ah.  Really, it was lovely.  And the sun was out.

I've kept working with the ideas of Phillip Moffitt on handling difficult emotions (a video I posted a while back).  In his book, Emotional Chaos to Clarity, he talks about "softening around the feeling."  I responded to this body-centered metaphor.  Years ago my yoga teacher, Kit Spahr, talked to us about softening around around any specific physical pain that arises when holding a yin yoga pose, and that's worked for me often. It is a way of not slamming the door on the pain, or on fear or sadness, whatever you want to flee. 

This can be hard to do.  So Moffitt makes the interesting suggestion that you can practice softening by softening around pleasant emotions.  I did this as I ate this morning, staying with the pleasure of and gratitude for this just-right breakfast so it quietly expanded and filled me.

I am glad to report that the minor infarction in my left eye had healed.  It didn't have to go that way.  So I am especially appreciating my eyes, being alive and well today, too.

[image: redbud seedpods in May on the ravine.  These colors please me.]

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