The effort of no effort

Hello again. I'm back. Back at my writing desk, the blank page and my university of shaping yet unformed ideas.
The effort of no effort
It's been a long summer, numerous classes taught and many lessons learned. Some wrinkles have deepened and some new ones have appeared. The new ones are in all probability born out of the inevitable degradation of body and possibly from my poor skin routine, but those that have deepened I like to think are from smiling too much, or maybe too widely... So Life while absent from the blog has in other words, been quite lifelike.

These last few days we're seeing the beginning of the autumn down here, rain and wind is dominating the skies, very much closing the chapter of summer, we have a couple of retreats left but today as I'm inaugurating my cozy writing seat in front of the fireplace it truly feels like the beginning of a calmer more spacious time ahead.
The summer season felt longer than usual his year, It was a good one but also tough, I do feel tired and totally ready for the quiet that lies ahead. Looking forward to spending more time writing again, to long undisturbed practice evenings in front of the fire. To the kind of semi hibernation that the Algarve, by being such a seasonal place, invites to.

One thing I can conclude from this season, is that I am now officially middle aged, I have felt it to the bone, that feeling where life start resembling a marathon race.
The responsibilities and commitments undertaken, decide the path and the distance and the slow constant burning demands a steady pace that will serve in the long haul. Seeing as I've just come from that age where sprinting was a viable option, the necessary change of strategy can sometimes make life feel a bit confusing, I either push too hard remembering the abundance of energy I had in my twenties and early thirties, or feel paralyzed by the long stretch ahead which, at times, can seem a bit arduous...

I guess that this is why we so often meet what we refer to as a crisis, during these middle years of our lives. We are not early enough in the race to look towards the road ahead as a mystery and an adventure, full of exciting possibilities, but also not that far advanced to clearly see the finishing line and through experience we know that the road ahead is not only paved with roses, there are quite a few thorns to be expected.
It's a balancing act, that of being in the middle. To not be thrown off, we need to carefully weigh what we say yes and no to, together with a good portion of awareness so that we can with clarity discern which what is appropriate for what when.

In this being a yogi is such a great help, this intelligent way of self study allows me to see more clearly and more quickly my tendencies and their consequence, and its practices continues to teach me the fine art of self preservation and how to economize with my energy.

The art of the middle way. This great pillar of the Buddhist teaching.

This middle way felt, in my younger years, like a restriction and a bore, I suppose the seemingly endless energy of youth made it difficult to feel the full weight of craving and aversion. I had enough stamina to power through pretty much anything so I kept following the trail of my wants and not wants with reckless abandon, but now, thanks to the more subtle growing pains of these mid years, I can fully appreciate the depth and accuracy of this teaching. You lean too hard on your desires and dislikes, mind and subsequently life gets thrown off balance.

I realize that I am handling my middle age with more balance than I thought, I still over do and feel stuck at times, but I am happy, and relatively at peace and at ease with life. The environment, my choices and the general direction of how life is unfolding feels accurate, no longer just random and surprising. With the amount of business we've had during the summer, a younger version of me would have probably stooped under the intense pressure, but now, being an old dog, used to being downward facing, I have become more skillful in understanding not just what needs to be done, but how to stay relaxed in the effort while staying grounded in the middle. The effort of no effort.


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