Today while I was practicing some unwinding poses on the balcony I meditated as usual on my large bed of mats. I lit the incense, sat under my red sheet hanging from above swaying with the ocean winds, on top of four different sitting materials surrounded by good vibes. About an hour later when the whole practice was coming to a close I blew out my last candle and challenged myself to list three things that I was grateful for in that present moment: (an exercise I learned from the UCSB Psychology Program)
1. I’m grateful I have the ability to sit at 2:00 pm like this. This is something many people do not do and I feel eternally grateful for specific incidents, opportunities and people that have influenced my passion of being still and being at peace with myself through slow, meaningful practice.
2. I am thankful to have a place to sit, to literally have a place to sit. As I spend time in my corner every day I try to mindfully recognize the fact that having access to a space like this is very privileged, and I know many other people may not have the luxury to sit on their self-decorated balcony near the ocean and ‘listen to their hearts’ at peace at 2:00 pm on a Tuesday. Some people don’t have balconies, some people have to work, some people have shit to do that I will never know the struggle of having to do, I know. So for that I am grateful and promise to seek peace and solidarity in every space I’m in no matter how hard it will be, even if it’s within myself. A safe space for a still mind is not physical, it can be completely within. This makes me want to promise to seek time every day, whether it’s on a balcony with a meditation corner or in the front seat of my car in an empty parking lot, I will seek time every day to be still and to have trust that the world will be okay without me doing something in it for twenty minutes, making me even stronger to deal with it tomorrow.
3. I’m thankful for all the ‘stuff’ that surrounds me and although I have tried very hard to further separate my attachment to ‘stuff’ the past few months I have come to notice a pattern in all the stuff I still do have. I have stopped shopping for ‘fun’– buying things I don’t need and shit just because it’s in a different color. All the things that surrounded me at that given moment when blowing out the last candle was all stuff from other people, given to me through some type of experience. I didn’t realize I had created my little meditation corner in this way until this moment but it made me feel justified in trying to stop being such a consumer. Most of the shit I buy I don’t keep past a few years anyway. I spent money and energy being attached to things that were only temporary…
when I think of some of my most meaningful possessions they are mostly things given to me by other people—with a story. Not just something I ordered online or bought walking by. If this is the case then why buy anything at all? Furniture, appliances, clothes, all kinds of things. I’m going to just trade, gift and accept as many of these things as possible and stop buying shit for a while. It’s much more in my best interest to spend money on investments. I am thankful for all the people that gave me the memorable things that now contribute to this beautiful space and what it all has taught me in this moment about attachment to material things vs. having less, but creating memories of real experiences.