Returning to Practice

All last week I was in Sacramento to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. I typically look forward to this time of year. It’s one of the only times where my brothers and I are all in one location. We’re able to catch up with one another and just enjoy each other’s company. We break out our old Magic the Gathering cards and much merriment is had.

This last visit, however, was a bit rough. I worked really hard the previous week in order to catch up on enough work so that I wouldn’t have to do any work, or very little, while in Sacramento. In doing so, I managed to become fatigued enough to catch a cold. So I arrived in Sacramento already feeling run down and having missed at least one of my regular yoga classes.

Despite packing my zafu and chant book, I neglected to sit the entire time I was in Sacramento. Not feeling well combined with the absence of the usual containers of routine and community all contributed to this. But ultimately I just did not feel like it and gave into this feeling.

Instead I watched movies, socialized, cooked, ate a few too many chocolate chip cookies, you know, the usual family holiday activities.

However, as the week went on, I felt myself become more stressed out and I continued to wait for an energy to magically return. It never did. I felt tired, fat and not very good about myself. I arrived back in Portland feeling just awful.

But starting on Monday, I was able to turn these feelings around. I made myself sit nearly everyday this week. I’ve returned (albeit gradually) to my exercise routine. I missed my mid-week yoga class to spend time with Sherri, but plan to go to yoga tomorrow. And, this evening as I settled in to my cushion and heard the bell ring for the start of the first meditation period, I could feel my mind settle and could feel my energy level rising. I felt present again. Whole. Energetic. Worthwhile.

I’m writing this as a reminder to myself: Always return to practice. It doesn’t matter what I did yesterday, or what I will do tomorrow. Only the present moment matters and it’s always available, should we choose to be in it.