When the engine won't start

(Continued from last post)

But sometimes you don't get ideal sleep. Sometimes there's construction next door. Sometimes you snore like a demon with asthma. Sometimes there's a draft. Sometimes your mind won't release you until your body collapses. Sometimes you just had gas. These things happen. How to get back to a decent baseline? Well you can try this. It worked for me today.


5-5-5: We'll cycle through the triangle above, counter clockwise first to banish the haze. 

5 minutes to Lubricate:

I like to hydrate as I caffeinate since the latter can steal from the former, so I started today off by sipping coffee and water for balance. If you like, raise the mug to the Sun and thank the anonymous lovely people who make it possible in what you hope the package says is true about decent working conditions). This just works better than chugging and it builds in a little period of phasing into day life. When my coffee and water took today, my little brain cloud lifted and I knew I would write something.

5 minutes to Activate:

I'm just barely learning yoga but my wife is kind enough to teach me in baby steps. I resisted, and you may too, but know that even without spiritual decoration it's stretching your body needs and appreciates. I did Sun salutations because we're in California where it doesn't feel like you're being microwaved and I appreciate that., with a little Warrior pose at the end for focus. When I finished yoga, I saw a bee on its back and got it back to higher ground. (This seems to happen here pretty regularly.) I saw the triangle and today's post was almost formed.

5 minutes to Motivate:

Zazen is a 2 dollar word for sitting quietly. Lotus is fun but definitely not necessary. Criss-cross applesauce will do as long as your back is pretty straight and your tailbone isn't squashed. I recommend just counting breath. Pick a number then use it to time this sequence by counts:

1. Inhale fully

2. Hold it

3. Exhale fully

4. Pause empty

A couple of minutes in, this post was clear in my mind. I was more or lessinished meditating when my daughter ran outside and hugged me on my lap. That was lovely. 

Now, after this is done you've spent 15 minutes making the next 15 hours more doable. That's a pretty good return on the investment, wouldn't you say?  If you have time later, try running the sequence clockwise to invoke balance if you start to slip. And like the last post said, repeat as necessary. The power is in getting back to the practice instead of kicking yourself for stopping. 

There's a Zen quote making the rounds you may have heard by master Zen master Lin Chi: "Eat when hungry. Sleep when tired." This is pretty good advice on its own, reminding us that animals have no shame meeting their needs as they arise. When you add the first part, usually left out by squeaky clean instructors with candles and mats for sale, it's a better reflection of our condition. We owe it to ourselves to honor and meet our needs without shame, or as Master Chi said, to "shit, piss, and just be human." 

So if you wake up feeling like handmade turd, have a sense of humor about it, give yourself a break, and play the Triangle of Kindling to warm your engine up so you can do well and be well. I can't promise what will happen to you, but I can say with some confidence that something positive will happen. This is you tuning the part of the day you can control to your pitch instead of trying to keep up with the music that blasts you from passing cars. 

Happy tuning!