I have put everything I have left behind out of my mind. Being present and enjoying every moment, working, walking in the woods, socializing, getting to know everyone and just being. This isn’t a new concept for me. When the girls were little I was grasping at straws to get through the torture of the empty days. I read Jon Kabat-Zinn and his work on mindfulness meditation. I started meditating every day. I focused on moment to moment. His work and teachings were my salvation for a while. Then life dragged me back into the past and future. Worry about the future swirled me up into a tornado of fear and panic.
I realize that I have not had one single tension headache. Not one! Here I am miles away from everything and everyone I know, among strangers in a strange place, and I am not nervous or anxious or tense. How can I be relaxed and happy in this situation when I have been so anxious and unhappy in my own home? I am living completely in the present moment and loving it.
Maybe my life is simple here. I know others think I am being selfish and irresponsible focusing on myself. But the only life I can control is my own. My life purpose is to contribute what I have to offer. I am helping out here while I figure out who I am and what I might have to offer. It is the best I can do right now. I need this safe haven because I have failed to figure it out while I was out there in the outside world.
My daily life has become my mindfulness practice. I am only here. My mind does not wander to the past, to what I left behind or what might be going on outside my daily experiences. Nothing outside this center exists for me. I spend my days working, doing whatever chores I am asked to do.
Routine it seems is the structure of my day. Up at 7 am, breakfast at 8 am and then I begin my daily chores. Stop at 12:30 for dinner as the noontime main meal is called here. Work some more. A light supper of soup and salad at 5:30. By the end of the day, I am so physically tired I could fall into bed. Yet not wanting to be alone I stay up in the main building in the library on my computer or reading.
I have formed a relationship with a guest, Trish. She is a nun from Australia on sabbatical. We spend hours in the library talking, watching movies and laughing. I can’t even remember when I laughed before. Now I laugh every day. I have never laughed as long and hard as Trish has me laughing! This is what keeps me from sheer exhaustion.
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