this is the first day of my life
here we go.
I feel like I’m thirteen again, nervous about publishing my first Xanga post. I’ve been wanting to start blogging again for a while, but instead I let excuses and fear get in my way.
But there are no more excuses now. If anything, this is for my own record. But hopefully, you, my dear reader, find something that speaks to you here.
Last week, my life changed. I mean my life has been rapidly changing for the past year, but last week was like a new level.
I spent a week in total silence with an incredible Zen Buddhist teacher, Adyashanti. The retreat was held at Granlibakken, a gorgeous resort in Lake Tahoe. For seven days, there were no cell phones, no emails, no communicating. Adyashanti would guide us through one meditation a day, give a talk, and a question/answer session at the end. Besides that, it was silent sitting. Meditation. (and delicious food!!)
I have to admit, I did not prepare myself very well for this experience. I was an occasional meditator, but always felt frustrated with it. I’ve gone through phases of being more consistent, but leading up to this retreat, I barely had a practice.
So the first few days were CHALLENGING. Being stuck inside your thoughts.. round and round and round. Woooo. Makes you feel like a crazy person to say the least. Luckily, Adya addressed this issue in his talk. It was comforting to know I was not alone in my struggle!! In his next guided meditation, something clicked for me.
Meditation is not about turning your thoughts off. You can’t just say “Think about nothing!” or “Stop thinking!”
Thoughts just happen. We have to accept that.
So instead of fighting with yourself, let the thoughts arise. And just watch them pop up on the radar. “Oh, hello little thought”
But then let it fade away. Try not to attach to it, expand upon it, or go further into it’s story line. “Goodbye little thought”
Thoughts arise out of nothing, so let them return into that nothingness. Let them disappear.
Rise, fall. Just like the breath.
It’s. That. Simple.
I’m not saying it is easy. But something about that approach really resonated with me. I was able to start getting much deeper, feeling a sense of peace and love I’ve never known. Everything started shifting within me. I now understand that meditation is truly the best way to access this clarity. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend checking out some of Adya’s guided meditations here.
I plan on sharing many of the beautiful new insights I received in future blog posts. This is just the beginning.
SO, since I am a musician and music is incredibly important to me, I plan on interweaving songs with these blog posts. Music has the power to reach our souls in ways nothing else can.
Lyrics have been coming into a new light for me since this retreat. I am hearing them I guess you’d say in a “spiritual sense.” The amazing realization I’m having is that most lyrics are really about our deepest longing to connect with the Divine. To begin this fun experimentation with sharing my lyrical interpretations, I chose “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. I’m hoping this song can give you a glimpse into what I am feeling. You may now press play. My interpretation will be in italics.
This is the first day of my life
Swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain, suddenly everything changed
They're spreading blankets on the beach
This is the first day of my new life- a life that is centered around love, clarity and peace. I felt like I was reborn as I came to the doorway of the sacred space within myself. Rain for me represents a cleansing. Washing away the old negative thought patterns and judgements to see more clearly the beauty of humanity.
(me speaking to God/Spirit/Universe/The Source/Whatever you’d like to call it)
Yours was the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
I don't know where I am, I don't know where I've been
But I know where I want to go
And so I'd thought I'd let you know
That these things take forever, I especially am slow
But I realized that need you
And I wondered if I could come home
I started seeing the face of God in all. Before this beautiful realization, I was blinded by my own selfishness and ego nonsense. All of our stories about who we are, where we’ve been, etc. are not as important as knowing where we want to go: home. Home is union with the Divine. With ALL. It’s okay to not have everything figured out and for us to take our time on this journey.
(the Divine speaking to me)
I remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange, you said everything changed
You felt as if you just woke up
And you said
"This is the first day of my life
I'm glad I didn't die before I met you
But now I don't care, I could go anywhere with you
And I'd probably be happy"
God watches us in our struggle, driving all night long, through our darkness. We can be so stuck in our own sadness or anger that we stay sleeping- we distract ourselves with alcohol, drugs, social media, TV, etc. But when we choose to “meet God in the morning” it is like we wake up and see everything for what it is. We let go of our stories. And we know that no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter where we are, we can be happy because we are at peace within ourselves.
(me talking to the Divine again)
So if you wanna be with me
With these things there's no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I'd rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides, maybe this time is different
I mean, I really think you like me
These stanzas are from the perspective of me, the insecure human. Is it possible that God actually wants to be with me? That God really loves me? Will I ever really find this peace that everyone’s talking about? These questions are still up in the air by the end, but I recognize that this path is worth the hard work. We cannot just wait around for enlightenment (the lottery) to strike us. We were given the gift of free will. It is up to us to choose love, joy, peace and freedom.
This all might seem super far out to you and you’re ready to write me off as a spiritual nutcase. Or maybe you’re like “YESSS finally someone speaking my language!” Or perhaps you don’t care at all and feel you wasted your time.
For the first time in my life, it doesn’t matter to me. I am not doing this to get approval. I am not doing this to make money. I am not doing this to get famous.
I am doing this because it feels right to me.
Now that is freedom.
Please enjoy this gorgeous instrumental piece that showed up on my magical Spotify Discover Weekly playlist a few weeks ago.
Until next time, soak up your freedom, my loves.