A slim March shower has washed down the path along Ocean View
Boulevard in Pacific Grove and clarified the air. The views are
a spring dream; a palette brushed golden by sour grass and
tangerine by poppies. The purple ice plant, or “magic carpet” as
it’s touted to tourists, is just beginning to lather the rocks
with light purple. The sweet musky smell is intoxicating. I
revel in the season, was born in the season and want to dwell
I’m about half way through
Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” (No, I am not participating
in Oprah’s workshop with him on-line. How the heck am I supposed
to access my creamy center when I’m glued to a tech device? No,
I’ve got to get out into nature, to smell the roses and feel the
wind on my face.)
OK, so I make a deal with myself:
I’m going to stay COMPLETELY present to the moment as I take
this one-hour walk. That’s where my true essence lies - beyond
time and ego. I know this now.
So here’s how it goes: “Little
Surfer Girl” enters my head and no matter how hard I try, I
cannot change the channel. The ocean sparkles true blue and a
virginal white sailboat drifts by.
I see this momentarily but now,
between “do you love me?” the channel injects, “How am I going
to make a living? I’m just dreaming. My new career will never
work out. I’m a fraud, an imposter. How can I teach others
balance when I’m teetering on the edge of madness myself?”
Sandwich in a few more channels:
“Should I ask $___ thousand for my car crash settlement? When is
the blinking auto dealership going to rid me of the nasty
chemical smell in my car?"
I stop, face the sun, curve my
arms around it as I “breathe in peace” and exhale “monkey mind.”
I think it’s working. I can see
the sea daisies at my feet.
And then this couple comes
walking toward me. “Why is it always me who has to move over
when people walk abreast? Am I a wimp, or what? I’m going to
keep my shoulders straight and see what happens."
There is a narrow escape as I hop
off the path to let them pass.
Now my ego is building a case against them so I repeat, silently
so as not to be taken off in a straight jacket, “I am not my
thoughts. I am neither right nor wrong. All is well. The
universe is unfolding just as it should. It doesn’t need my
help. I am at peace, I am whole, I am.
Now I can focus on the sound of the surf colliding with the
seawall and barking seals and mewing sea otters and . . . “Dang!
I forgot my acupuncture appointment yesterday. Koji is going to
kill me. He hates me to be late, not to mention AWOL. And
when will this back of mine ever be right. I knew I shouldn’t
have twisted when I lifted. I know better. It happens every
time, etc., etc.”
I am my pain body.
The hour has almost passed and I realize I haven’t been
“present” (remember, the present is the gift). So, I
choose a bench with some dead person’s name on it, and sit. I
even pinch my fingers together like a true swami.
First I look at a frothy wavelet just beyond my nose. Then my
eyes slowly close and I concentrate on my breathing (huff, puff)
. . . “Is that an irregular heart beat I hear? Blip, blip.
Uh-oh, I knew this thumping sound I’ve been having in my ears
means a heart problem. I’d better get straight to the doctor, do
not pass go do not collect $200.”
After winding down my deeply spiritual walk, I encounter two
girlfriends at the deli. Hugs go all the way around.
“Well, I just did my stay-present-in-the-moment-the power-of-now
walk and guess what?”
Their mouths smile, their eyes are riveted.
“Out of the hour, I was able to shut off my mind for about three
I’m feeling pretty sheepish when these enlightened women say in
unison, “That’s good! Way to go! It’s a start.”
P.S. This reminds me of something my pocket angel, Annie,
recently told me. “Friends are the ones who, when you make a
fool of yourself, don’t consider it a permanent condition . . .”