by Miranda Chapman
One of the great boons of my mindfulness practice is the invitation to participate fully in my life. This full participation enables me to really see the choices around me and to have a robust sense of agency in all avenues of my life. What this disables, though, is the ability to claim: I have no choice. Because, at the end of the day, I always have a choice: to stay or go, to complain or accept, to distract or dig in. Excuses don’t work anymore.
This power of choice is remarkably present to me as I fully absorb the choice my husband and I recently made to move out of the comforts of a house into a thirty-one foot trailer on the land where we are building our own home. Pulled from the luxuries of running water, reliable electricity and heat, wi-fi and technology, we have launched ourselves into pioneer living during the coldest season.
I noticed myself complaining about the adjustments I have had to make and the requisite challenges that come from living off the grid. Then, I stopped myself; all of this, I chose. No one made me buy this trailer, no one made me move out there; I, of sound mind and body, consciously chose. And that is the crux of this great practice at times: it’s not always easy. It’s not always sweet solace to fully live our decisions when things become challenging. But, if I am open, wisdom arises and reminds that full participation means being in it, owning my decisions, exercising my power to be present even in the coldest of passages.
In each moment, I have a choice to the see the gifts and the grittiness of real life; I have a choice to disempower my agency through complaining and wishing things different; I have a choice to show up, fully, in each moment and attend to what is really there. And, if the need arises, I make a different choice. But, in this moment, I am committed to living my choice and with stalwart intention learning everything I possibly can from the place I am occupying; and wool, lots and lots of wool.
Miranda Chapman is the founding Program Director and Senior Faculty at Copper Beech Institute, the nation’s newest retreat center for mindfulness and contemplative practice. Copper Beech Institute offers more than 40 transformational retreats and courses, as well as mindfulness practice and mindfulness at work offerings to help you awaken to the beauty of your life. Miranda will be co-leading the New Year retreat, Connecting to Your Light, January 22 – 24, 2016 as well as leading a winter day of mindfulness on February 6th . Both retreats are opportunities to journey within and with Miranda.