Join Our Mailing List

I'm listed in Life & Lifestyle

Posted By Opening the Heart

Okay, so as well as I can measure it out, these are the ingredients, for me, of a perfect morning. Place: the beach from Baker's Beach to the Westport River, Westport, Massachusetts. Time: early morning, sun has just climbed above the scrub pine, east on Gooseberry Island. Weather: (very important)- 64 degrees, moderate offshore wind, visibility, forever. You can see Cuttyhunk Island way off on the furthest southeastern horizon. Scenery effects: low tide, no one else in site, no music, no phone, osprey fishing for breakfast; one baby osprey, high-pitched caw, maybe out for its first solo flight- what a morning to learn to take wing; a group of mallards, with families, just going for a sea ride; gulls, soaring, dropping sea clams on the rocks; sandpipers chasing the waves in and out. Perfect!

Then, attention, the mind, shifts to Imperfection. What does the psychologist Jon Kabbat Zinn say "Wherever you go, there you are!" So, NBM starts (Negative, Busy Mind): worry, fear, anxiety. Really!? In this perfect place and perfect time? Come on! Okay, do what you've been trained to do: breathe, bring your attention to NBM with some curiosity: "Isn't that interesting- even in this perfect moment, there are negativities, judgments and shit!"

Attention refocuses on the incredible sparkle of the sun's reflection off the water. The osprey and gulls, the wind all, still, seem to be in perfect harmony, untouched by my NBM. And for a few minutes it "works"! I am back in the serenity and beauty of the moment. For a few minutes- really!?.... Yup! Breathe, pay attention to whatever is before me. AND, remember, Jon, everything you've been taught: the goal of mindfulness is not to make one thing stay- not to hold on to one inner state. Breathe and 'Isn't it interesting: even with practice, we cannot aim to hold on to One Dear Thing'".

Then, as I approach the river, something quite wonderful happens. As I walk along the riverbank, with the water emptying into the sea, the wind picks up and there is a huge flock of terns flying upriver, in the same direction I'm walking, just about at the same speed. They fly and dart, and, then, quite suddenly, one drops straight down into the river and then flies up with a minnow in his beak. He carries it to his wife on the shore and tells her to bring it to the "kids".



flying terns

The whole scene took my breath away. Yes, the intrusive thoughts still occasionally came back. My turn was to stay with those thoughts and then it was Your Tern, and the elegance and poise of the terns took hold. It became a game, not a struggle to make something else happen than what was before me in every moment. And I had an awareness that this walk was, really, no different than any other piece of my life unfolding, and I simply turned to the terns, bowed and gave thanks to God for this moment.

With Love and Respect, JonJon

2 Comment(s):
Patricia Roberts said...
I just registered for the OTH workshop in December. I am taking quite a leap of FAITH doing this. Not only because of finances, but it is something I am going to do alone! All by myself so far from home---scary for this woman!! So I click on links to explore more information about this workshop and here is your post about being on the beach in Westport---where I live! WOW! Now I am getting excited! This is going to be a life changer for me!
October 18, 2015 10:23:51
Bill Amore said...
Thanks Jon ... I left a comment yesterday on FB about being the happiest my life ever has been. Finally at 65 I am with a wonderful woman ... semi retired ... my kids are doing well. .. a beautiful cabin in the woods ... building my dream carpenter shop ... pinch me ... this must be a dream! But what gets me are the NBM as you put it coming up to bite me in the butt. Why can't the NBM go away? I can't change the past ... this I Understand but the injustices that are part of who I am just won't let go. My uncertainties about if there is a God... only ad to the mix ... but from what you have written I just need to refocus. .. come back to my happy present reality .. It was interest to see that you experance NBM ... with all the wonderful healing you do at OTH you still experience this junk that rattles in our head... Tough being human. .. scarry being 65 ... but life goes on. Thanks for the blog .... It came just at the right time!
September 8, 2015 08:35:11
Leave a Comment:
Name: * Email: *
Home Page URL:
Comment: *
   char left.

Enter the text shown in the image on the left: *
 Remember Me?
* fields are requried