Saturday, August 4, 2012

Finding Perfect Peace

Where does time go?
This is one question I seem to ask myself more and more the older I get.
Where DOES time go?
No where, really, but wherever it goes you can't get it back. And it seems to take your peace of mind with it.
I'm sitting in my favorite childhood park as I write this blog entry.  It's a park I've been to many times-- as a child with my family and now, as an adult, I still come back to it several times a year.  The trees tower overhead, creating a magnifiscent canopy of shade.  A gentle creek runs through the park and cascades down a man-made waterfall into a giant pond full of chubby mallard ducks.  It is cooler and calmer here.  A monarch butterfly lands on a dry tree stump right in front of me as a gang of spoiled ducks  takes off from the pond flying so close to the surface, I can hear their wings slap on the water.  As I type, just a few yards away from me, kids are playing in a creek the same way I used to.  They are kicking and splashing and jumping from rock to rock and they don't have a care in the world.
Ah, the good ol' days.
Remember those days?
Back when your biggest worry was running out of cherry Kool-Aid.  Or the sun going down before you could get in that last game of tackle football on Johnny's front lawn.  Or not having enough quarters to get into the community pool.  Or having enough quarters (2 in my day) for the pool, but not having enough courage to jump from the high diving board (AFTER you got all the way up there!)
Oh, to have those worries again! Now I have my job, health, mortgage payment, family, and the price of gas to worry about.  I want my creek back!

The other day I was watching an episode of TED Talks and saw a neuroscientist describe her experience of having a stroke many years ago.  She had a stroke fairly young. As the stroke was ravaging her brain, she described long moments of silence, where her mind no longer functioned normally and she felt like she was outside herself, outside of her mind, at complete peace, in a place without any fear or worry, no memories or baggage of any kind.  She waved her arms above her in a sort of universal embrace as she described this mesmerizing moment to the crowd, tears streamed out of her eyes.  Her face glowed.  She wished everyone could find that place without having to have a stroke.
She called this place NIRVANA.
Of course, her entire stroke experience was far from one long blissful moment.  She described "brain freeze" type pain, searing and sharp; and most of the time she couldn't read, talk, and couldn't lift her arm to dial the phone.  She finally got help from a friend and made it to the hospital.  Her recovery took 7 long years.
So that's what I need to be at peace?  To find perfect calm I need to take a hike from reality, get out from within my own mind?  I need to create my own "peaceful now" by detaching from my own mind and memories?  Hopefully not via stroke, but maybe LSD?  Pot? Alcohol?  Yoga?  Meditation?Hypnosis?
Sure, I could find temporary nirvana in any of those, but there'd be a few side effects to go along with it.  We all know about those nasty little warning labels.  As for me, I am most worried about the side effects of Yoga.  I've watched classes.  Seen videos.  I like the breathing exercises, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk for a week after just one session. I remember a friend trying to talk me into taking a Yoga class with her.  I wasn't interested.  She pleaded, "C'mon, you gotta try it! It's so relaxing and good for you! There are all these great stretching moves like the "down dog" and the "up dog"!"
I replied, "What's "up-dog"?"  We both recognized what I had just said and burst out laughing.  (Ask my question again and you'll get the joke.  If you're under 50, watch MTV or have kids. )
So maybe Yoga would make me more limber and peaceful or maybe some kind of medication or libation could loosen me up a bit, but I am not going there.
I'm going to God.
In fact, God is here and I am learning to pay attention to his presence.  Today, he is in the breeze and the birds that circle around me.  He is in the laughter of the kids that play in the water nearby. 

This past week, I had something happen to me which, awhile back, would have gotten me tied up into a ball of knots that even the best Yoga instructor would have been hard pressed to stretch out of me.  Someone was insensitive and inconsiderate and maybe even a tad passive aggressive toward me. I let it go.  I spoke up calmly about what happened (God does not equal doormat), but I didn't let it rattle my cage.  I just said, "God, help me with this one.  See me through.  Give me patience."
He did.
I found peace in the midst of chaos.
I found my favorite childhood park in the middle of life's freeway.
I got into a "down dog" pose without a groin pull.
I didn't have to lose my mind to lose my fear or worry.
I found God.
Right then.
Right here.
Right now.

-Hope Horner, 2012
Twitter: Follow at HopeNote

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