The view from my temporary home in Laconia in Greece today offers me a palette of grey as alternating rain, mist, and hail rolls past my window. Each of these weather phenomena has been thick enough to virtually obscure the surroundings. It’s not a day to be out and about it. So we’re taking a home day instead.
I’m writing this feeling very cosy and contented after my asana and meditation practice. I’m refuelling with some locally grown fruit (Laconia is famed for its citrus) and a glass of water from the mountain springs, with half an eye on my beloved husband sitting across the table (who is working on a much more onerous bit of publishing than this little blog). If I want more entertainment I have Feuerstein’s slightly intimidating but fascinating tome The Yoga Tradition (and I have actually been reading it, not just using it as a booster to my mini meditation cushion). And if that’s not absorbing enough, just watching the weather roll across and the peaks above come and go from view is a wonder in itself.
It all seems good today. I feel very restful and content with my lot.
And to be honest I’m suprised by this. I usually consider myself a pretty driven and impatient character, overly-analytical and making heavy demands on myself (and anyone who gets dragged along for a ride with me). See — I can’t resist analysing my own sense of peace even!
I’d love to conclude that my sense of wellbeing derives wholely from a steady practice. Yes, I have faith that it helps, but more prosaically I think preparation is the key today at least. I love to feel in control. So through the genius of our weather app we were prepared for this: we had a mega-long day yesterday and had reconciled ourselves to staying at home today, knowing that the weather was not going to play along for us.
But this is just my usual defensive behaviour — define the worst case scenario and then there’s more scope to be pleasantly suprised. Real contentment, in contrast, lies in skilful handling of the unexpected, the sh*t that just happens, that we’re not prepared for. The kinks in life that throw even the best preparation out of the window.
My injured hamstring has been teaching me a thing or two about this recently. It’s forced me to make various adaptations to my plans and my way of doing things. This time in Greece right now is not as I’d planned it to be. It was meant to involve various things I can’t do at all or not to the degree I wanted to.
I think I’ve pretty much (…but not entirely!) lived out my frustrations on these fronts, and my hamstring has offered many more lessons besides. That not getting what you want doesn’t leave you with nothing, and that different doesn’t equate with worse. That goals, discipline, and determination are either not enough or are too much (that’s a thought in progress…). That letting go isn’t the same as giving up, and vulnerability isn’t the same as weakness. That others can offer the warmth of support and the reassurance of guidance, but ultimately it’s your path to tread.
Whether I’ve really learned these lessons, only time — and the next spell of adverse weather — will show.
Oh, it’s just started snowing!