Tonight I put my 3-month old to sleep and walked into the kitchen ready to do the dishes and reign in the chaos that always seems to explode when I make dinner. I looked out the window and could tell from the light in the clouds that the sunset was putting on a show so I grabbed my phone and literally RAN the 300 metres down to the end of my street and was greeted by this scene:
First off, how amazing is it that the ocean is at the end of my street? But that is beside the point…. WHAT A SUNSET!!!
I often ponder on the idea that you cannot force amazing moments in life, but by being present and open you are able to see when they come to you and are ready to embrace them.
We certainly have our fair share of gorgeous sunsets, but many nights it can be nothing special or often in Winter, grey and cloudy. Last year I offered Sunset Yoga classes down where I took this photo and of course I always wanted the sunset to put on a stunning show for my students, and sometimes it did and it was breathtaking, but in expecting something stunning I may be disappointed when the sunset was just average. Some nights the sunset wasn’t anything exciting, but in the wanting and willing a gorgeous sunset, I create a situation of discontent where it doesn’t need to exist. By practicing mindfulness my senses may focus on what I hear, sea birds calling, the sound of the water lapping on the rocks, or the sound of my own breath, or on what I feel, the soft caress of the ocean breeze on my skin, the grass under my hands, the warmth of the last rays of daylight. Being open to what IS, creates space for more contentment.
I’ve even noticed this in my personal yoga practice. On occasion I will have a savasana or meditation that is deeply nourishing, where I feel settled and calm deep within myself, or my mind feels light and transformed. But expecting this bliss every time I attempt savasana or meditation means that when it doesn’t happen, and let’s be honest, sometimes my “monkey mind” just doesn’t let up, I am left feeling frustrated. As I apply a mindful approach to my practice I learn to become “the observer” of all things. I observe how my body is responding to what I am doing and where my mind and attention go. As I do so I let go of the attachment that my practice should “be” a certain something, and be open to what it “is” in the moment. So when my mind is bouncing all over the place instead of being frustrated and feeling like I “can’t” meditate, I can just observe, “My mind is active tonight.” This is neither good nor bad, it just is. And when I have the time to take the time, the monkey mind usually calms down to some degree, sometimes to a truly blissful state, and other times just dialed down a notch. Neither is better than the other, and learning to accept both allows for a more settled existence.
The deep, deep rest of a really restorative savasana is kind of like my stunning sunset tonight, sometimes you are graced with the experience, so be open to the magic when it comes. Savor the magic in life in the small moments that flicker by, mindfully soak them in, because just like my sunset tonight the light of the sun fades. The sky went from fire to grey within a matter of 10 minutes.
If I hadn’t noticed the light in the clouds I would have missed this beautiful sunset, and to top it all off there was a rainbow behind me as the sun set! So just a little reminder to keep your eyes and your heart open for magical moments in your life.