inspiration

Contemplation on the Majesty of Simplicity

A Spring Morning in Magictown

A Spring Morning in Magictown

This morning I’ve watched the morning fog stream its way over the French Broad River and through the Blue Ridge Mountains where I live.

 

This morning I watched the chickens forage for food along the mountainside, and then lay low together in the shade.

 

I cooked an egg and spread it over a bed of greens grown by my friend who is a farmer.

 

I listened to Lobo Marino’s latest album, singing along as an offering to the life that was waking up all around me, and inside of me.

 

I kissed my best friend goodbye and wished him well on his first bicycle ride to work at the local newspaper.

 

The spark of a promise to seize the day lights up my morning here in Magictown.

 

Soon I will prepare for today’s classes.

 

And for now, I will continue to contemplate the majesty of a simple life.

 

There once was a time when I thought simplicity was a bore.  Life was seen as a chore instead of an opportunity to experiment.

 

To me, my daily practice of mindful yoga and vipassana meditation help me to wake up and see the beauty of what a simple and honest day could be.

 

In just a couple months it will be 1 year since we left our city grinds behind and chose to experiment with a slower, simpler life more closely connected to our hearts and Nature.  Our hypothesis was a higher-quality of life.

 

This morning the quality of life reached a staggeringly splendid height.  I’m most certain the majesty is available to all.  I’m also confident that my experience of it continues to be fleeting.  So I continue along this path of peace and union, trusting in the flame’s moments of steadiness.  One step at a time I am reminded.  And not to forget to cherish these majestic moments of simplicity as they are offered.

 

Now it’s time to return to the marketplace.  Chop chop my fellow seekers.  If you’d like, I invite you to experiment with seeing the greatness in the routine of today’s to-do’s.

 

Here is a simple way to connect to the majesty of the moment, wherever you are:

 

Pause for a moment.

Be with the sensation of breath filling the body.

Be with the sensation of breath emptying the body.

Enjoy the splendor of simply breathing.

 

W/love,

Kris Moon

 

 

Kindness is critical

What do we do when it appears we’ve lost our way?

 

This past weekend, in a conscious effort to slow down, Mi Amor and I attended a silent work meditation retreat. The retreat took place at Southern Dharma, a lovely retreat center about an hour north of us here in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. The weekend was a combination of sitting and working meditation to prepare for the upcoming retreat season. There were about 20 of us who were split into various task teams, and I was assigned to the outdoor landscaping crew.

 

Even though we had specific tasks to do, the priority was placed on maintaining our meditative focus over getting the job done. We were encouraged to slow down, to be with our breath, to notice what we were doing, and to enjoy the work. And believe you me, this was much easier said than done. (even when I had just sent out an email practice all about how to do this!)

 

Within 5 minutes, yes, 5 minutes, of raking leaves I had already mapped out in my head the entire area that I would tackle in the first 3-hour work session. Once I had the plan in place, I started to attach myself to the outcome of accomplishing what I had set out to do, quickly forgetting the meditative focus.

 

About 20 minutes in I felt a sharp sensation in my left hand. I stopped, wiped the sweat that at this point covered my forehead and the back of my neck, and removed my working gloves. In between my pointer finger and thumb was a huge blister that in this short time managed to not only form but had also popped, leaving behind a large flap of skin.

 

In the absence of noticing my breath and staying present for what I was doing, I had become so focused on completing the task before me, that I was death gripping the rake, literally causing myself harm. Now in that moment of awareness, I had a choice. I could do what I tend to do, beat myself up for losing my way….

 

“Ugggghhhh…I’ve only been out here for half an hour and I’ve already failed. Ugggghhhh…I’m a professional for goodness sake, and I can’t even get it right. Ugggghhhh…all this practice and for what? I should just quit right now. What’s the point? I suck.” 

 

OR….in this moment, I could choose to offer myself kindness. I could let go of the story in my head about not being good enough or being a failure, and I could simply come back to noticing my breath in the body, feeling the sensation of the sun touching my skin, seeing the red buds against the blue sky and the yellow daffodils emerge from the green grass, hearing the sound of the birds singing their songs….

 

I could return to right now. I could remember that I am a human being and that being human isn’t about being right or wrong.

 

That the so-called success of the meditation practice is in making the choice to come back over and over and over again, no matter how many times we stray. And that the critical element for ensuring that we are able to start anew without losing hope or getting lost in our story is kindness.

 

As we approach the vernal equinox on Sunday, it’s a great time of year to come back to our center, without judgment of if and how we might have strayed. To remember our True Nature is already whole and complete. To realize that our worth isn’t tied to what we “get done.” That in any given moment, even when it may not feel like it, we are more than enough.

 

This week, the invitation is to practice coming back to your breath…. the sensations in the body…the sounds around you…the beauty you see as Nature wakes up from her winter slumber… to choose to come back to the experience of right now, with kindness.

 

Now sometimes we need outside support in helping us remember our innate ability to begin again. Mother Nature continues to be one of my most helpful teachers. Spring offers us the reminder that new growth is possible. Sometimes support comes in the form of a trusted friend who reminds us to be gentle and kind to ourselves when we are stuck in a pattern of despair or when our inner bully is on the pounce. And sometimes we just need some guidance as we practice.

 

Lately, I’ve found it quite challenging to exercise my kindness muscle, and therefore I’ve included a loving kindness meditation practice that has served me well in hopes that it may support you, too.

 

As always, if you have questions or comments, or are in need of a friend, I love hearing from you. And if you feel called to invite another to join this online practice community, please do.

 

May we all be happy, may we all be healthy, and may we all love and accept ourselves just as we are…

 

Wishing you all a supportive Spring Equinox, full of kindness and reflection.

 

W/love,
Kris Moon

Being Mindful in May

mindfulinmay

 

Join me in making a difference in the world this May – Sponsor my challenge or join my team and take the challenge yourself.

 

Mindful in May is a 1-month global meditation challenge that aims to share the benefits of meditation while providing clean water for others.  It’s for anyone: both experienced meditators and those curious about the practice.

 

How it works:

 

Members of MIM Chicago commit to sit for 10 minutes of meditation everyday in May to raise funds for Charity Water, an innovative, non-profit organization that builds clean water wells for those in need. Think of finding sponsors for the classic charity run, but substitute ‘meditation’ for ‘run’.

 

Once you join the team, you will receive email reminders with interviews from some of the world’s leading meditation teachers, like Sharon Salzberg and Dr. Richard Davidson and other resources to help you “train” or assist you on the road to a calmer, clearer, more mindful state.  This is perfect for anyone looking to start or return to a more consistent meditation practice – teacher or student.

 

Join the MIM Chicago team and let’s take the challenge together.

 

Any contribution, no matter how small or big will matter.    If you’re not ready to commit to sit, don’t worry chicken curry!

 

Here are several ways for you to get involved:

  • Share this information with anyone who you think may be interested. If you are interested in hanging a flyer where you work or at a local community center, please let me know.
  • Attend the kickoff event with friends on April 22nd at the Nature Museum. We’ll have delicious snacks, you can learn more about the challenge and additional MIM Chicago events happening throughout May, meet a group of mindful folks and practice some simple mindful movement together for FREE!! Click  on the following link for more event details and how to RSVP: mimchicago_april22_event

 

If you’re even considering it, then I say give it a go!  We can commit to sit together and it will be great! Clear minds for us, clean water for others!

 

With love,

Kris Moon

 

Why I practice – Happiness Revealed

This is a short film that has kept me inspired for several months now, and no matter how many times I watch it, each time I am moved deeply.  Not only is the time lapse photography absolutely stunning, the wisdom shared is the essence of why I practice.

 

I practice to never forget how thankful I am to be given another day.  I practice to remember that life is made of moments, and I practice to strengthen my ability to stay present for them as much as I can.  I hope I never stop being moved by experiences like the one Louis Schwartzberg offers through his 6-minute short and beautiful film, “Happiness Revealed.”  If you need a reason to practice, give it a go.