On Returning

No matter how committed we are to practicing yoga or writing on a daily basis, there will be times when we get distracted and fall out of sync. It’s hard not to get discouraged in those moments, to fall into the blame game, to think “I’m so lazy” or “this is too hard” or even want to give up.

But then we remember how much our yoga and/or our writing (or whatever we love) gives back to us and we choose to start again. We recommit ourselves. This idea of “coming back” was brought up a few weeks ago at an organic farming and meditation retreat at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in the Berkshires with the Jewish Meditation Center in Brooklyn.* The director, Alison, spoke about the Jewish concept of teshuva, or returning. We applied this idea to our meditation practice by continually coming back to our breath and our point of focus.

Sometimes it seems like all of life is like that: constantly returning to ourselves. The busy overwhelm of life grabs hold of us and it seems weeks before we get our head above water, take a breath and remember why we’re here, what we love and what the point of all this is.

Whether it’s remembering our commitment to our goals (writing every day in order to eventually publish; practicing yoga in order to feel good and alive; remembering to pause and enjoy a sunset, etc etc), or simply coming back to our breath in meditation, we are living our lives always returning.

An inspiring teacher, J. Brown (also in Brooklyn– I’m all about BK today!), posted a very short video about yoga and tuning into our feelings. We all get lost and distracted; it’s inevitable, but his video reminded me, returned me again, to why and how I want to practice and live. What a wonderful thing to be reminded.

Often the idea of coming back is just that subtle. A friend once told me that he didn’t think he was meditating at all because he kept having to bring his focus back. But what if returning is the meditation? What if going back to ourselves and what we love is the entire point? After all, that is where life is. It’s not only when our mind is clear or when our book is published or when we’re dead and our life has been perfectly lived. It’s in returning to what we love.

What are you constantly returning to?

*JMC is badly in need of financial support to survive. To donate, click here.

9 Responses so far.

  1. Sarah says:

    A lovely post, Barbara. It is beautiful to see the returning as the practice, just as the wandering off is as much a part of life as the commitment to a focus might be. Encouraging us not to close off any of it with those useless self judgments or give in to despair is so supportive of the practice. This idea of returning, of remembering what we are doing or our intention for our energy, is such a foundation of mindfulness, and also the place to stand even in the rush of a strong current. This can really take yoga off the mat and meditation off that cushion!

  2. lynn carapella says:

    Another lovely piece… Peace!

  3. Steph Roth says:

    You’re writing is so inspiring and beautiful. I love getting the blog updates, making sure that I take the time to thoroughly read through the post, absorbing the beautiful message you provide.

  4. J. Brown says:

    Indeed. Let us keep returning to what we love. Thanks for the shout out. Cheers.

  5. […] check out an old post about the art of “returning” to what we love— the perfect reminder for the week of the Jewish new year and Autumnal […]

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