Plunging in...

I have been to this beach a thousand times - with my surf giddy high-school boyfriend, with our water crazy family dog and with European relatives who were seeing the California coast for the first time. But on Saturday, as I walked down Asilomar all by myself, I realized that in the many thousand times I had walked this beach, I had never walked it alone.

So this time, I watched. I saw owners with their dogs and children with their mothers and men with their girlfriends. I saw locals and I saw tourists. I saw people embracing the art of doing nothing, except perhaps listening to the rhythmic breathing of the ocean - slow and consistent, steady and never faltering.  I saw naked baby bums and sun screen coated noses. I saw sand and sea. I saw the water clearer than I had ever remembered it.

I was alone this first time at a Asilomar because I was talking part in Karen Maezen Miller's Plunge. She is the author of the books Momma Zen, (whichI have referenced more than a few times) and Hand Wash Cold, which I have now added to my library of books to read. She is a mother, a wife, a Buddhist priest, a retreat leader. She is what brought me home, to Pacific Grove and to Asilomar.

There was divine poetry in the fact that her day long retreat was in the place where I grew up and even diviner (if that is actually a word) intervention that it came at exactly the time that I needed to learn something really important: my motivation for meditating.

Yes meditating makes you calmer and quieter and more peaceful and more pleasant and more joyful. And I would imagine that most people want these things but I don't think that that is motivation enough. There has to be something profoundly personal that is affected for you to see how deeply transformative this practice can be. For me, my first experience with meditation transformed a few things, most importantly my relationship to and with my husband. And that change, well that motivated me to get on the pillow everyday, everyday until I was about 7 months pregnant and then that motivation that had initially gotten me there, well, that didn't motivate me anymore.

And that was over 2 years ago.

But on Saturday, I realized that I have a new motivation. A motivation that is all mine and nobody elses. The reason I need to get on the pillow is a profoundly important relationship in my life that needs me to accept it for all that it is and for all that it isn't. It is the one relationship that causes me great suffering (in the Buddhist sense) - suffering that is caused because I so desperately wish it to be different. I so desperately wish for the person I am in relationship with to be different too.

So, the reason that I meditate is to practice accepting this relationship exactly how it is.

This is my work.

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