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A Toast To Stability And Ease

In class, I’ve been using the metaphor of making my body a stack of Zen rocks. You know, the stones piled on top of one another that balance with seeming ease. If I think of three—one representing the pelvic bowl, the second the ribcage, and the third the skull—I find I can make enough room for a long stable spine to rise from right below the tailbone to the crown of the head. This gives my central channel the freedom to extend from the earth to the sky.

2015 was a year of trying to find both stability and ease. For months, my husband and I were out of our home, living in a suitcase-filled sublet. I traveled to three different continents—and witnessed the brutal yet always magnificent cycle of life and death on the Kenyan plains; the stark poverty and intense opulence on the streets of New Delhi; the breakdown of the European economic system in Greece—and I almost touched the stars at the top of the world in the Himalayas.

Our adult children left New York City. We’ve experienced both good health and sickness and watched our parents get older (in some ways becoming wiser and in other ways less so). I’ve solidified some spiritual beliefs, worked with new teachers, and let other paths go.

Meanwhile, the world has become even more unsettled. News of terror attacks, police brutality, undignified political discourse, homelessness and refugees flooding Europe steal my attention as soon as I wake from anxiety-laden sleep.

I used to be a goal-setter, a forecaster, and a person who felt I could mold the future to fit my desires. Lately though I’ve learned that change is constant and predictability is futile. Measuring time by a calendar is illusory. The best I can do is observe each moment as an edifice of Zen rocks. Knowing that at any moment my parts will tumble out of alignment and I will need to balance them on top of one another all over again.

My bottom-most rock is my resettled home, my health, and safety. The second supports my heart, passions, family, and service to those in need. And the third keeps my mind fresh, vibrant, and alive to possibility. These are the stable factors that allow me to feel whole and organized— able to withstand the inequities of the world and take a course of action that, in any moment, feels easeful and true.

Instead of making resolutions for 2016, I’ll be renewing my vows to the concepts of stability and ease. Raising my glass and making a toast to the little pile of Zen rocks that sit on my home alter.

—Brette Popper

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