If you’re a follower of the show Nashville, then you’re probably wondering if Deacon Claybourne is going to relapse (yet again). I’m thinking no. He’ll pull through on his own and with the help of his 12-step program this time. But if I were writing the script, I would have Deacon start meditating.
That would shift everything in his drama filled world. With a daily meditation practice, Deacon’s amygdala would not go into fight or flight every time he feels threatened in a relationship with another hottie (his age or half his age). Yes, remember he tapped Juliette in the pilot season! Dude has been around the block. But back to his amygdala…finding out he has a daughter that his been right under his nose for fourteen years would not phase his amygdala (nearly as much) if he were a meditator.
It might play out something like, he discovers the big secret and he immediately feels a knot in his stomach. He is able to be very present, take a few deep breaths and recognize that he is feeling a mix of emotions. Angry, hurt, deceived, powerless, etc. And then he is able to notice that the feelings seem to calm when he acknowledges them. And then he has a passing thought about a bottle of whiskey and he recognizes it as an old thought pattern that just doesn’t work for him anymore. And the process goes on of noticing what is coming up, but not having to act and react in irrational ways. He senses a bit of a buffer between the emotions and his need to react.
Now all of this doesn’t happen just by stopping to take a few deep breaths. No the Mindful Deacon in my script would have been meditating on a daily basis and THAT is what caused him to be able to deal with drama in a mindful way when it arose. It’s not a matter of using the tools when you need them, but rather, meditating as a regular practice so that you can manage life in all of it’s forms as it is dealt out to you.
And if he were meditating on a regular basis he would have calmer energy and a calmer demeanor and wouldn’t attract as much drama to begin with. Which I guess defeats the purpose of having him on an evening drama show. But that still wouldn’t stop me from writing Deacon onto a meditation cushion every episode.
I have spent most of my life being willing (eager!) to take on big projects. But it seems with recovery, meditation and perhaps aging that I am slowing down, being more intentional and not so grandiose in my endeavors. Take this greenhouse for instance.
When we bought our new home in the country it came fully equipped with this ginormous green house. I happen to have a black thumb which makes having a ginormous green house an exciting challenge (or perhaps a poor choice in recreational activities). Last Saturday I was ready to take on the project of overcoming my black thumb with this green house that is ridiculously large. I stepped in and immediately knew it was time to back up, regroup, and rethink this project.
Instead, I went to Lowe’s and bought a teeny-tiny starter kit.
It is 1-Square foot instead of 800 square feet. And the amazing thing is that a week later I actually have live, green things spurting up from seeds. It’s a miracle!
This is not the kind of thing I anticipated would change when I started meditating and working a recovery program. But ultimately what this type change does, is make my life much more fulfilling and manageable. And that is what I’m interested in these days. The grandiose, manic, big energy of the past feels very ego-driven and I am much more intrigued by challenging myself to stay focused in the present and be grateful for the smaller things in life. These little seedlings feel like a great accomplishment…just for today.
As I was scanning the sports section of the newspaper this morning (hey why not..you never know where wisdom will crop up), I noticed an interview with a race car driver that included the question, “If you could give your younger self a piece of advice…what would you tell yourself?”
Hmm, I was intrigued. I quickly skimmed for speed racer’s response. He said things like, “I was always worried…put way too much pressure on myself…” He goes on to tell how he would talk himself down from the craziness (my words not his) to get to a calmer, more confident place. And finally, he said, “If I had any advice to give it’d be, Don’t act like such a dumbass sometimes.” Amen brother. That is going in my journal today. Perhaps pasted to the dash of my car or maybe even tattooed on my knee.
That’s keeping it simple. Don’t act like such a dumbass sometimes. I especially like that he didn’t say, Don’t BE a dumbass. No, he said don’t ACT like one. Brilliant. Today I will not act like a dumbass and will attempt to just BE.
I’m sitting in my meditation room, gazing out at the woods and I start to notice a fog rolling gently out of the woods. It’s slow and subtle, but it is definitely getting foggy.
It’s a siren call from the forest. I am lured out of my cozy, warm meditation room into the woods. As I enter the woods I believe I have discovered the origin of the fog. The temperature is rising and the ice is melting and this is creating a misty, moist fog.
I compare it to the place I am in my life at this particular time. I’m doing the inner work of dislodging, old, stuck, frozen emotions and allowing them to rise to the surface and then hopefully simply dissipate like this ice that is melting away. Once again, nature is teaching me the simplicity of allowing things to occur.
The forest’s ice is simply melting and gently dissipating. This is creating a fog in and around the forest…but I know that it too will soon dissipate.
I’m using this as a metaphor for my own inner work and to relish the fog and immerse myself in the mystery rather than fighting for clarity.