The Practice of R.A.I.N

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
~ Rumi ~

I recently bumped into an "unexpected visitor" encountering a conflict with a friend. It pulled me into an old and sticky voice, which I hadn't heard in quite awhile. I was irritated, annoyed, disappointed and found myself stewing in those juices for awhile. A long enough "while" that I started to feel that I couldn't shake it. It was "sticky" and I was starting to get stuck. Here I was, this very human mindfulness teacher, moving into "lost and stuck" territory.

With deep gratitude for the practice of R.A.I.N., I moved into the lost and sticky territory, and into my body. Constriction in my gut, tense jaw, hands gripping. Here it all was, stress reactivity pulsing through my body. Time for RAINing! Recognizing what was happening, I began to Allow the reality of the reactivity, leaning into and gently being with all that was showing up in my body and emotions, getting instantly curious and began Investigating. What I bumped into there was sadness, and then that old belief reigniting the message "I don't belong". What did she who didn't belong need to hear?

Well in this instance, my whole body burst into laughter, seeing that old voice was still buried in the annals of my body history. In that moment I was grounded and knew the belief wasn't the reality of my life, surrounded by friends and loved ones, the tribe to which I completely and utterly belong. All those dear ones came into clear view. This was my Nurture, the Non-identification with this VERY old story. Yes, RAIN brought transformation through my stuck story and into ease and knowing the scope and depth of belonging in my life today. Ahhh, sweet sigh...

Here are a couple of resources on the practice of RAIN

RAIN: A Mindfulness Practice for Welcoming Your Emotions

Resources ~ RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture

A New Way of Seeing in the New Year

Looking into the new year, we often consider resolutions or reflect on our lives, looking for messages to guide us as we move into making decisions and choices with the unfolding of this 2016 time container. Something about this seems to involve the search for the holy grail … happiness.  So why does this happiness thing seem to be a perpetual dangling carrot, just out of reach?

Perhaps it’s our expectations.  Looking for an outcome.  Something concrete against which to measure success along the happiness scale. Especially in our culture, we tend to work within this framework of achieving some outward manifestation of a goal, or some external expression of “happiness”.  What if we have it all wrong? What if all of our best planning has been driven by someone else’s expectations? Or maybe you have been shaped by the layers of circumstances which have unfolded in your life, and those embedded layers have been created out of your reactivity to what life has handed you? What if these layers were cultivated by mindless reactivity to fear, anxiety, loss or even lots of joy and the cultivated expectation that joy should be the goal? What if these layers embedded “auto-pilot” as the way you meet your life?

So why are we still searching for the holy grail of happiness? Is it because we are so attached to outcome related to what’s happened in the past or what we think should happen in the future? Maybe we do have it all wrong. What might happen if we turned this paradigm on its head and let go of outcome altogether? Sounds like a crazy idea, but what if letting go of outcome opens an unexpected door?  How can we begin to listen inside, instead of auto-pilot reactivity to outside events AND begin to let go of outcome?

Beginning to notice the narrative we have created and which rules our lives and our choices, just might be the start to a new way of living which leads to a new way of seeing this business of happiness. We call ourselves human “beings” when in fact we may really be human “doings”. What if we lived in the present moment “being” instead of “doing”? What have we missed by all this “doing” instead of “being”?

Ah! So that’s where mindfulness comes in.

Here’s a link to a video to look into this perspective.

If you are curious to learn, through mindfulness, how your narrative, your "stories" or auto-pilot have driven you, is it time to engage in the exploration of a new paradigm of what happiness might look like to you?