I’ve heard the call of the cave, more than once. Tempting me to leave temptation behind. To let go of attachment and seek release. The call was loud—and always especially alluring under the shadow of the Himalaya in Uttarakhand—but I never responded. In spite of every feeling of frustration and disappointment and resentment that may pass through me—unwelcome guests, no doubt—I don’t need to flee the world. I can take part. I can do my practice, and keep faith.
In fact, it’s not in spite of those feelings that I remain engaged in the world of work and struggle. It’s because of them. What’s the point of practice, if not to recognize ourselves and abide within ourselves, in both rest and restlessness.
That’s what this month has been about, for me. A reality check, in the very best sense—reminding me of some of the tough lessons I’ve learned in my practice, and reinforcing the decisions I’ve made to follow a different path.
This past week, after finally recovering from whatever viral nonsense had caused a few weeks of epic congestion from the top of my head to the depth of my lungs, I took a hard fall on my way to the subway. Totally knocked my shoulder and hip out of whack. And to think I’d only just last year retired my sequins. I could’ve used them for that award-worthy performance on the ice.
I was sore beyond sore, but I sat in mindfulness. One breath at a time. Just one breath. And I was able to sit through the pain. I even forgot about it, for moments here and there. I didn’t get past two breaths at any one time, without the aching of my body bringing me to distraction, but at the heart of that practice was the letting-go of the add-ons I brought to my pain.
There’s always something to distract us, to pull us away from ourselves. The world is very efficient that way. But we can take part. In our practice, we can find ourselves, every time. We need only seek. This is where I keep my faith.