If We Ever Get to Toshi Station: Keeping It Together When Things Are Falling Apart

I am best at practicing mindfulness when my life is going well. In those rare times when existence surprises me by bending to my exacting standards, I’m calm, patient, at ease – basically all the states that often elude me.

Yet, as Yoda reprimands Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back:

'All his life he has looked away…to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was…What he was doing.'

Yeah, normally I behave just like Luke Skywalker bitching about going to Toshi Station for those power converters. And that’s OK. I accept that being present in the Now is often an endeavor at which I will fail.

Lately, though, there’s been turmoil rumbling through my life at a stupefying velocity, and my ability to maintain anything like equilibrium by practicing mindfulness has proven more fail-worthy than normal. Although on a rational level I can accept that existence will never remain stable enough so that I can first get skillful at centering myself before being confronted with difficult times, at my default emotional response setting, well, I whine just like Luke Skywalker.

Toshi Station, Uncle Owen! Toshi fucking Station.

The promise at the turn of this new year—that some of the stressors in my life might ease or lighten—hasn’t materialized, and I’m falling into old patterns of needing this conflict resolved or that problem settled before I can feel present. What I need to acknowledge is that, yes, my present is challenged, and I should not turn away from the discomfort, or wish it gone.

It is difficult to be here in this uncomfortable now, and even though I’d rather be anywhere else, I know that I need to stay put (good dog).

There are grace notes to be sure, flashes of realization that there is much to be grateful for. When I am able to be present in a given moment, to still the rage of thoughts, I can find strength, reassurance even. Right now—at this moment–everything is as it is. Not as it should be, nor as I want it to be. But as it is.

I’m trying to be open, striving to be present, even as Yoda reprimands me,

'Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.'

A little tidbit I found at the On Being website. A good reminder about approaching the moments we have with present-mindedness, openness and vulnerability.