Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering with Elizabeth Lesser

This past Monday morning. Running late. Had a late night working. Cabbing it, yet, again. Damn! How I committed to taking subways or walking. Damn! How I committed to going to sleep earlier and not working on Sunday nights. Ahhh, will try, again. Whatever.

In my 11 block cab ride (yes, 11 blocks) I manage some major mental, emotional, and cosmetic kung-fu. Realities wrestling for attention, I do up the bronzer (present), I run through my to-do lists (future), I tell myself to stop judging myself for the cab and the sleep (past-future-past-present), I energize myself with silent pep talks of my dreams coming true, regardless of the aforementioned broken commitments (future), I replay some conversations I had from last night (past), and I realize my mind is everywhere but in the back seat of the taxi, in my body (present, again). And then I arrive.

Flurry, flurry, scurry, scurry, up the elevator, kiss, kiss, hello, hello, how was your weekend?

And... I'm on.

Time to work. Thankfully, I have a cool job. And my job for that hour was to interview one of the women I most admire, Elizabeth Lesser. Elizabeth is Co-Founder of the Omega Institute (go, go, go there!)

The moment I hear her voice, I feel myself settle. I feel a softening in my chest, a melting in my shoulders, a lightness in my face. We reflect on many things. Here are a few that supplied me with my zen fix for the week, that got me back. Thanks, Elizabeth.

1. In the Sufi tradition, the word for "spirituality" actually means "remembering." On a higher level, higher than the one that most of us operate on daily (or in the back seat of a cab), we are completely complete, need nothing, know everything, perfect, as-is. The key is to remember that. Living, experiencing, learning - is really remembering what we already know.

2. It's work. It takes time. Relationships need YOU there. After remembering that it's all remembering, Elizabeth reminded me of what I know of relationships. That they need time, are messy, and need you there, physically. In order to work through the complexities and create intimacy with your partner, friend, or child - it's important to create plenty of space for things to be worked out and through, for bumps to be smoothed, for growth to be had. Back and forth, back and forth, integration - requires people to be invested, time, body, heart, soul, in space, together.

3. At the speed of trees. Wired with our schedules action packed, there may be no road back to slow. Who knows if this is good or bad. But what we do know is that as beings on earth, our bodies best respond to the rhythm of nature. To the waves in the ocean, the shift of the seasons, the cycles of the moon. Mother nature doesn't rush or force...soooo, remember that. Go be with some trees, feel the snow on your face, smell the air, hear the wind.

To get some of your own zen fix on with the wise words of Elizabeth, I encourage you to watch her latest Ted Talk. Enjoy.

Much love,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Stella for this awesome blog. I just gifted Elizabeth's book Broken Open to a friend. Elizabeth's work is a reminder of the spiritual in the physical and every time I hear her words I, like you, relax. I aspire to the road back to slow... and think it will manifest not as a lack of busy-ness, but as a mindset. Thank you for all you do Stella!

    Cari Cole

    PS -- A few years ago performed at her Omega Institute (in Rhinebeck, NY) a few years ago in celebration of Circle of Fire, my record inspire by the NY Times bestseller, The Four Agreements (available on iTunes). I Love Omega - if you ever get a chance to go or have been - it's an awesome experience!