Long before we actually die to an old behavior, the way has been paved for a new one. By the time we actually arrive at the decision to let go of something, we shall ‘be glad of another death.’ When we are ready to let go, we will do so with relief. We will experience renunciation not as a death but as a birth.
-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 10 – Left to our own devices, with little instruction on actual “adulting,” we begin to carve out little routines in order to go through the motions of the day. Even the habits of my work days flow and move in such a way, and there is no manual, just someone else’s agenda stuck on top of the great task of actually teaching something and making it worthwhile enough to learn.
So, too, does Rolf discuss the creation of his day on his first silent meditation retreat as a routine of “when I would have tea, when I would walk outside, when I would make time for some good yoga poses.” In the midst of this, we may (or may not) stop and take in the beautiful moon, a hawk’s fair swoop above the backyard tree line, the gleam of a possum’s eyes in the bushes (I caught one in the trap for Shadow last night) as he begins his own nighttime routines, the low purr of the cat on the end of the bed, the bright and glorious and possibly last winter day of 2018. Yes, yes, yes, just like T.S. Eliot: “I had seen birth and death,/But had thought they were different; this Birth was/Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death./We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,/But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation…” I recognize the slow deaths of my waking hours, but I also experience the small birth of possibilities in the quieter moments of day. Like the Magi, I bring gifts to celebrate the possibilities: an open heart, a willingness to see differently, and a desire to be (and do) better. It is my frankincense and myrrh.