Cheryl's Blog

When the mind ruins a good fantasy

I’m sitting in the sun with my cat Wednesday nestled in my lap purring softly into my elbow. She likes to sit with me when I write and I spend more time than I should be trying to balance the keyboard on my knees as I type so as not to disturb our shared reverie.

Wednesday has taught me to place pleasure over purpose.

Winter has arrived in full force here in the northeast with single-digit temperatures and cold winds that take the breath with it. Yesterday morning, as I braced against the bluster while feeding the birds, I dreamt of going someplace warm. I imagined supple, hydrated skin, dining outdoors, and swimming in the sea for more than a minute. But my daydream was halted the moment I remembered the pandemic and the hassle of traveling – long security lines, packed planes, and ever-changing testing requirements.

Oh, how the mind can ruin a good fantasy.

The moment I realized the irritation now coursing through my body was the result of a shift in my thinking, I regained perspective. Could we travel? Of course. Did I want to right now? Not really. But this wasn’t the real issue. What mattered more was the fact that I caught my mind changing my mood.

I returned my attention to filling the feeder and when I looked up, I noticed a male cardinal sitting on a nearby branch, his fiery red fan-of-a-hat perched proudly on his head. Well, hello there, I said as we stared at each other. I suspect he was waiting for me to leave so he could grab a bite to eat.

How many times a day do we aggravate ourselves with our minds, I thought to myself. Ten? Fifty? A thousand? Ten thousand? 

And what do we miss when we do?

Life, magic, the unfolding of something beautiful right before our eyes. A bright red cardinal against the gray of winter is not only a sight to behold, but a reminder to stay awake, to remain allegiant to the practice of presence.

That’s the focus for this week’s Zoom gathering on Wednesday afternoon at 4pm ET/1pm PT and I hope to see you there. We have 500 spots available (and more than that have registered already) so entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The gathering will be recorded for those who can’t make it or who can’t get in the room. To receive the link, be sure you’re registered here (also check your spam folders for emails since we can’t respond to folks who can’t find it).