Alcatraz – the Supreme Prison of Mind.

Whenever I feel like my life it isn’t working it is because I am living in this Alcatraz of a mind prison. Through the cracks of this armor which I wear so unconsciously, shine brief glimpses of freedom in the form of peace, stillness and very occasional moments of Life Itself writing words through my mind and fingers. Awareness floods my physical and emotional bodies that until I make the experience of these moments my number one priority, my life will remain in this prison.

All else in my life takes first priority. I fuss about endless minutiae. I see the results of these distorted priorities in health issues and days disappearing into a nothingness of endless repetition, of numbness and apathy. I yearn for connection, for my cells and my mind to be flooded continuously with the joy, the quiet ecstasy and the exhilaration of an ego dissolved into an awareness of Life Itself.

Outside my window, in the growing light of the dawn, is a magic wonderland of snow-covered branches, walls, firewood and rooftops, all amid a deep, deep stillness. It will be cold and icy out there. Inside, snuggled into my over-sized robe, the heater hums as it busily warms the house and the soft light of a lamp against the pale peach colored wall completes the magic. Stillness and peace pervade my being. This is the place from which I want to live my life. The Alcatraz of my mind now seems far away, but I know its persistence well and I know it is up to me if I want it to stay away, to dissolve back into the illusion from whence it came.

I am not a stranger to this place of peace. Nor am I a stranger to the hold of mind as it reasserts itself back into the habits and routines of my daily life – those ubiquitous brain tracks that have run my life for so many years that I despair of ever being free from them.

My gaze wanders around this little nest I have created for myself. The colors that are so Santa Fe – the paintings and furniture – simple and warming to my inner being. This is a space for Life Itself to create through me. For a while. It will change as I venture out again in the spring in my RV – another nesting space for Life Itself to create through me. For now – it’s winter – a time for hibernation from the flurry of spring and summer activity, and for practicing awakening awareness. This can only happen if I am willing to surrender that Alcatraz of a mind and take a bigger than ever, flying leap into the unknown depths of the Present Moment.

It means, stopping a LOT during my day and becoming acutely aware of thoughts that course through mind and challenging them. “Is that true?” – from Byron Katie’s work – is a great question.

It means when something is urgently pressing for my attention, so urgently that it takes precedence over everything else, I stop, and look out the window at the magic wonderland out there, and ask myself, “Which is more important – getting this done right now or being grounded and centered in this precious Present Moment and then proceeding with a fresh perspective and peaceful heart?”

It might mean, dropping all my To Do lists for this day and allowing Presence to guide every step. Horrors! What about all those things I have to get done? What about them? They’ll either come up as Presence guides me or they will wait for another day. Really – what do I, personality Beverley, know about the bigger picture of Life and its priorities? Faith is required here. Faith in the eternal and infinite wisdom of Life, about which little me really knows nothing. Can I practice this just for today? Can I take the magic of this stillness and quiet ecstasy throughout the length of my day and have it still be in the forefront of my awareness this evening?

A pale pink blush of sunrise surfaces above snow laden junipers in the distance. It looks like a Christmas card, right outside my front door. Daytime is here – a day to practice living a life of vitality and aliveness, a day to feel the exhilaration of Life pouring through this physical expression on planet earth in whatever form it, in its infinite wisdom, may choose to take.