About Me

When I was about 24 years old, I first started thinking about meditation and took quite an interest to Zen Buddhism. Being an atheist, somehow Zen seemed to make the most sense to me of all the religions. I started reading about it. But I never really got very far. I read about half of Everyday Zen: Love & Work by Charlotte Joko Beck. I read about half of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. But I never finished them. I never meditated. And I only fantasized about "being Zen" (whatever that means).

I wasn't ready yet.

For the subsequent 18 years of my life, I guess you could say that I reaped whatever the opposite is of benefits (malefits?) of not quieting my mind, not being present, not accepting whatever is. My fundamental disposition had been to try to control my environment. I think I got a little bit better over time, but there was always the belief that I had to control things, and that there was a specific outcome in any situation that was the "good outcome" and anything else was bad.

In the past couple of years, I started thinking again about meditation. A few people popped up in my life that seemed to be bringing that message; a therapist, a friend, a date. In some cases, it came in the form of a suggestion: "What you really need to do is meditate." Okay, yes. I think we know that. But in other cases, the message came in the form of stories from others' lives, about the change it brought for them. Somehow, that inspired me more than the "You need to do this" message, because I am always fighting against all of my "shoulds" anyway, and this was just another one of those. You know the old saying... "attraction not promotion."

So, I tried meditating about two years ago. I went just a few times. And I was miserable. An hour felt interminable. I felt like I wasn't doing it right. I felt like it was harder for me than for anyone else. And of course, I felt like I was never going to be able to do it. All those thoughts, combined with the discomfort, and I did not go back after the first few times.

I was almost ready, but still not ready yet.

Then, about a year ago, I was (grudgingly) dragged by my partner to a hot yoga class. I was highly skeptical, because it sounded a bit bizarre. But I tried it. And it was miserable. An hour felt interminable. I knew I wasn't doing it right. And it sure looked like it was harder for me than for anyone else. Of course, once again, I felt like I was never going to be able to do it. Again, the thoughts, the discomfort. I did go back, because I had purchased a Groupon for five sessions. Though I only used two of the sessions before shying away again. 

Though I was not completely ready, there was a little voice inside my head, after those two sessions, that started to say "Whether or not you're going to be able to do it is not the question. You need to try to do it."

A couple of months later, I was on a vacation, and I was again dragged to yoga, though this time it was not against my will. My mind had been quietly mulling the potential that this could have. And I feel like the past two years of other kinds of work that I'd been doing were already taking me in a direction of quieting the mind, relinquishing control, and being more accepting of myself and others. So, even though it didn't look like anything was happening, it already was. Much like trying to start a gas-powered lawnmower, this time, the motor came to life, and my practice officially began.

I've been practicing for a little under two years now, and have been going nearly every day. I do a mix of Hot Hatha, and Power Vinyasa classes, at Be Luminous, Live Love Flow, and Urban Yoga Spa, in Seattle. 

In this time, I have seen many changes. My body is different than it was. My energy and my attitude are different than they were. I feel like my outlook is generally becoming more positive. I don't talk about Zen or meditation, and I mostly don't obsess over any sort of spiritual aspect of things. I just show up, listen to the words of my instructors, listen to my body, and try to let my mind get out of the way. Sometimes, it cooperates.

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