Monday, February 14, 2011

Start Heading West

I have a friend and student whose talented work is wonderful and should be seen by the masses!  But she gets stuck for periods of time.  Maybe because getting there seems like too much work.   Or too confusing.  Or maybe because she, too, knows her work should be seen by the masses yet she is overwhelmed by the thought of all the small, humbling steps that can lead her there.  And boy, those humbling steps are no fun sometimes to our dear, sweet ego.  Gulp.

I see life as a dance of stillness and action.  Every moment is filled with both - call it form and emptiness if you will - and any success, large or small, is woven of this.

 As a meditation teacher, I champion stillness: finding moments of it in your busy life, setting aside time to embrace it regularly, getting comfortable with the vast expanse of what seems-like-nothing-going-on as you sit on the cushion and follow your breath.  And we know by now that stillness is a close friend of emptiness and that emptiness is the womb of all creativity.  So to embrace that emptiness is to really get behind yourself in creating something incredible that you haven't even dreamed of yet.  Getting friendly with emptiness and stillness can feel like a challenge, but luckily there is action we can take toward this: meditation!  Meditation itself is a dance of action and stillness.  You are engaged in active attention resting on the breath - the object - while allowing your mind to slowly still.  Action, stillness, action, stillness happening simultaneously.  That's "nutshelling" it a bit.  But you get it.

Maybe the action this little guy needs to take is a nap.

To experience our dreams taking form, we must take action.  We get clear, focused, alert and tap in to our heart and wisdom by sitting and meditating.  And then we get in to action.  And then we sit.  And then we get in to action.  Ah, the dance is happening everywhere!

Look at it this way: if you want to go to beach, you start heading West.  At least you do if you live in Southern California, as I do. (Sorry, East coast and your snow! Don't hate me!).

Maybe you don't know what street to take - there are so many, after all.  Maybe all you know is to head West.  Great.  Start there.  You're headed West!  As you get closer to the beach, you make adjustments.  Your GPS system is your wisdom and clarity gained from your meditation practice.  You change course as needed, naturally and gracefully.  You turn down a side street, back on to a main street, hop on to the freeway for a bit and then jump off and take a rambling scenic route.  Or maybe you see a cafe that looks really, really cool and you want to get still for a while so you stop in and sit down.  And maybe that's where you decide to not go to the beach today but to start working at the cafe you're sitting in and you help turn it in to dance club where you shake your booty every night and you invent a dance called the "Action/Stillness Dance" and you find yourself being asked to be one of the judges on So You Think You Can Dance and Oprah gives you your own channel because the "Action/Stillness Dance" is sweeping the country.  It all happened because you wanted to go to the beach.  Now you can buy a house on the beach.   So there. 

And all this because you started heading toward your goal.  Toward.  Not at, like a damn torpedo, so sure and hard.  But toward, allowing the dance of stillness and action to take you where you're going.

So wherever you're at, just start heading West.  I think my friend is starting to!


  1. Your "drive the beach" reminds me a bit of my rambling and distracting mind when I meditate sometimes. I start on the object: "the beach" and then find myself wandering off to thoughts of funky cafes, scenic roads and So You Think You Can Dance. How can I make my GPS perform for me when my willy nilly mind gets the best of me?

  2. Oh what I would do to be a judge of SYTYCD! I better start heading West... LOVE your blog Chip Chipie!! Thanks for the wonderful reminders and insights xo

  3. I love it!! There are so many times we have a destination in our head but instead of driving towards it, we don't even get inside the freakin' car. This piece of yours really reminds me the value of just getting in the car (metaphorically speaking) and just start driving towards our dreams. LOVE IT!!!


  4. @Lynn Zavaro: Great question!

    In fact, it's such a great question, I've turned it in to another blog posting :) Thanks for the fuel!