Traveling always awakens my senses and gets me thinking, but it also gives me time to slow down, meditate, practice yoga, read, and most importantly, reflect on the things I see, hear, read, feel and think. It's all one big messy happy process, and I feel lucky that I can catch a truth here and there and contemplate it more deeply, and maybe come out of the process a little clearer about what to do with my most treasured possession, my time.
Montreal is filled with wonderful things to experience, and because I will only be here for 10 days, I chose a little part of it to get to know better, Le Plateau. The place I rented, however, simply can't be an accident, though were I to recount how I came to find it, it would certainly seem that the process lacked intent to produce any result other than to find a place to stay. But it is too much more than that, too precisely what I need and can appreciate now, to be an accident. Photo credit: Archive for the Plateau Mont Royal category.
Verona's apartment is filled with her and others' paintings, sculpture, poetry, plants, and old repurposed furniture. Everything is placed with obvious care and attention to detail, balance and beauty. Her bookshelves are filled with books on mediation, the life of Buddha, eastern and western religions, philosophy, art and artists, travel and travelers, and knowing yourself, finding truth and experiencing love. The apartment is a gift I feel honored to be offered and to accept for the time I am here. Photo: A table and wall in Verona's apartment.
Just like life.
Everything in my environment, my body and my everyday experiences seems to be reflecting back to me just who I am at this moment and what I need to grow. So my French immersion experience has evolved into a meditation, yoga, consciousness raising, Reiki retreat. And I've got the time and the inclination to go along with it all. It reminds me of Alice's Wonderland, only it's here and now and real.
Perhaps four walls and a pallet might have been just as perfect a gift, but I don't think I would have recognized it as such at this time. That's what makes this place so special. I recognize it for the gift it is, and am taking full advantage of it. It's like the bridge that Stroke of Insight was for me last year -- just what I needed to go from where I was to where I needed to be. Photo: Bridge in the Japanese Garden, Jardin Botanique, Montreal.
In one short week I have recognized truths that seemed to elude me for more than 50 years. Topping the list is that it doesn't work to try to argue with feelings. Logic is simply ineffective. On the other hand, meeting your own feelings with acceptance, love and compassion enables you to do the same with others who are in need too. 'If you can't have compassion for the only person whose feelings you can actually experience, you won't be able to extend compassion to anyone else.' --Cheri Huber
Just as importantly, moment to moment awareness is a powerful tool to help us identify what the thoughts and feelings are that keep us stuck in patterns of self-protection. You can't meet a feeling with acceptance and love if you don't know what it is.
And every encounter with people, choices, and even things, presents us with an opportunity to listen to our hearts as well as our heads. Like a lot of people, I tend to lead with my head and talk myself out of most of my heart's inclinations. But I can see the results of that approach, and while fine by material standards, they fall pretty short on the spiritual side.
And last, I better understand the power of intention to bring energy, intuition, and opportunity together to make change.
So that question of what to do with my time? At this moment, seems pretty clear that there is nothing more important than this moment. Practicing moment to moment mindfulness is the foundation for everything else I will do in my life. I get it.