Counting cordobas is a practice in staying present. A practice I sometimes find more difficult than my meditation practice some days. The thing about cordobas is they value 24 to the dollar, so you very quickly reach large amounts of money that you are regularly counting.
I can’t count quickly and accurately in Spanish, at least not up to high numbers. Perhaps someday. Let’s be real, I often don’t count quickly or accurately in English, either. I get distracted so easily during this task! Thoughts will intrude mid-count, or my ears will latch onto snatches of conversation occurring around me. Conversations in Spanish become harder to ignore the higher my comprehension level rises.
So I count and I practice. Each day at the start and end of my shift, I count and recount the cordobas. I train my mind to stay present on the number – in English, in Spanish, in the moment.
There’s nothing like walking a headstrong schnauzer to reflect back unsatisfying nature of desire.
This is Moses. He likes to enter the perpetually open doors of people’s home and businesses that line the shady side of the street during his daily walks. He LOVES to see other dogs, and will eagerly lead me towards one that is standing on the sidewalk in front of us, only to be distracted at the last minute by an interesting smelling telephone pole. Tambien, he will pull the leash stubbornly towards a recently urinated on bush, only to brush past it on arrival in favor of a corner of a building that smells even better.
Each time I see Moses chase and fulfill a desire, I see another desire take its place, resulting in him struggling against his leash from one destination to the next as we walk the streets of Granada. I can’t help but be reminded of the One Human Condition, in which we are ever striving for a point in the future, but rarely if ever are able to appreciate the moment when we get there.
I didn’t get what I wanted for my birthday this year. Not that I was waiting for a gift, but I felt let down by a particular person. This disappointment preoccupied me for much of the day. Michael Franti has a great line for situations like this,
“Wise folks count their blessings, fools count their problems.”
I was inundated with unexpected birthday blessings at every turn on my special day. Thoughtful messages poured in over the internet from friends and family in the States. I received sweet gifts and tender words from friends old and new here in Granada, and had many birthday wishes and surprises from very new acquaintances.
In a moment like this, it is important to remember what a choice happiness is. We have complete control over where we focus our attention. This is not to say that we don’t acknowledge feelings of sadness and disappointment. By all means, honor those feelings, allow them to move freely through you, but do not cling to them. It is in the clinging that our emotions manifest into physical ailments.
The sensitive yoga teacher in me feels this happening, and I take preventative measures by focusing on a hip-opening yoga practice, incorporating longer pranayam sessions prior to sweet seated meditations, and scheduling time for body work and reiki. I feel lucky to have so many tools for self care as I enter this next year of my life.
There is an opportunity for awareness and awakening in each of these seemingly mundane moments that make up our lives. I believe that the more we are able to sit in this light of awareness of our internal universe, the more we are able to connect to the One Human Condition. For that I have gratitude and hope as I begin a new year and continue my journey inward and onward.
Om Shanti Shanti