The following post was written by Callie Ritter, a certified yoga teacher through The Perri Institute for Mind and Body, and a Restorative Exercise Specialist trained by Katy Bowman's Nutritious Movement™. She’s a professional modern dancer who recently moved from New York City to Boise, Idaho. She was raised as a cowgirl on a family cattle ranch, and is grateful for her rural and metropolitan perspectives. Performing and teaching are her ways of giving back.
My new Swiss friend told me stories about giving his elder father a rambunctious cat. He told me about his experience being a nurse for people who knew they were on their last leg of life. He wants to quit his job of sixteen years and revolutionize the way people in his country receive care.
I met him on a bus riding through the high-desert landscape of Idaho. This happened the day before I practiced Zazen meditation with my new sangha (community), a group of men averaging forty years older than me. Some of them listen to discussions with their eyes closed.
This drawing is inspired by my conversations with my traveling friend, my five hours spent with a sangha where the effect of time is more frontal, and a line I recently read translated from the Bhagavad Gita: A lamp does not flicker in a place where no winds blow.
Once I felt I had gotten to know him, I asked my Swiss friend what was his spirituality. He answered that he doesn’t need a specific belief or abstract faith. His method is in taking action and observing results. He chants regularly with a group of people; it calms his anxiety. I had a teacher that said: Just do the work.
We expect happiness, peace, and equanimity to come easily! I’m okay with practicing compassion to be better at compassion. I’m okay with the work of ________ to become more effective at _________.
Just do the work. Things will shift. Some people start meditating at age 65.
Just do the work.
Note about the drawing: The list on the right was done by my non-dominant hand, and all three minds have a flame.
Drawings by Callie Ritter.