I had to drive to the little port town of Golfito, Costa Rica, yesterday, for paperwork. I set out on my motorcycle on a gorgeous sunny day, headphones threaded up my tshirt and into the helmet, a fantastic hip hop mix on the ipod, protected by a pair of jeans and even sneakers. Feeling hurt by an incident with people whom I admire and trust, I had my mind cluttered with thoughts I would have preferred to release.
I usually putt around Pavones in shorts and flip flops, heading out to surf, yoga, or maybe a massage, cruising at a school zone pace because, in a town so laid back, what’s the rush? But with the music on loud over the sound of the engine, focused on pushing my own boundaries – picking my lines on the dirt road, avoiding mudpits, leaning into corners, weaving around the not infrequent potholes – I was feeling alive and 110% present. I wasn’t worried about my own skills, but I had to stay on the defensive against drivers on my side of the road… or the occasional chicken darting out. Riding at my internal maximum speed required focus and concentration; so after a short time, all the little outer dramas naturally faded away.
Doing something that pushed me paradoxically brought me into my center, though that wasn’t my conscious intention setting out. I was just going with the flow of the music, the light sunny mood of the weather, and a little bit of a whimsy. In following the joy of the moment, I tapped into an unexpected current of inner power. A surge.
It reminded me of a conversation my dad and I had recently, when Hurricane Irene was sweeping up the eastern seaboard. Early on Saturday my dad predicted that the worst of it would be the rains. “The center collapsed, so all that’s left is a big rainstorm,” is what he said. I’d been contemplating his choice of words over the past few days. Hurricanes and tornadoes lose their power once the eye has collapsed. Their action and potential to affect change (granted of the destructive kind) revolve around and require a still point in the center.
After over two hours of driving, I arrived home bone-weary but mentally relaxed, settled. Centered. Though the storms of others may rage on around me, I had created my own spiraling force, out of concentration plus the sheer joy of living. Finding my center gave me the courage to stand my ground, and to simultaneously love and accept others just as they are, even if their actions might inadvertently hurt. To trust in a deeper process. I know my hurricane is formed out of love, compassion, power, and maybe just a dab of adrenaline.
The practice: Each of us learns and grows in unique and radically different ways. Discover the actions in your life that light you up. It shouldn’t feel dangerous or life-threatening; but we are going for the actions that remind you of your own skill and control in your life. My mom loves to ride the wildest roller-coasters, she always walks away from the vertical rides with a gleam in her eye. My friend Jenny comes alive whenever she finds a home for a stranded puppy. The thrill she gets out of helping animals fuels an inner fire that keeps her life alive. Once you have plugged into your power source, the energy of your actions will begin to radiate out into the world. Tap into your intention, focus on landing in your center, and allow the physics of the universe to take care of the rest of it, with non-attachment to the results of your actions. This doesn’t mean raging like a hurricane, but instead spiraling naturally into your core of power, then noticing the strength that surges in waves, pulsing, like those of a hurricane. The power we harness can be used destructively, or for good… the choice is yours. Ultimately, only you know your intention and motivation; and ultimately, yours is the only opinion that counts. I honor your inner power… Namaste