The Carnival


You know how Facebook serves up memories of things you posted years back? Lately I’ve been seeing photos I took in September 2016 – when my family and I were incredibly lucky to be able to spend a month together travelling through U.S.A.

First stop – Disney World, Florida, for 10 days of theme park exhilaration! When we arrived excitedly at the gates of Magic Kingdom on day one, it hadn’t yet occurred to me that, oh crap, I have to go on some scary rides this week.

Zero to 100kph in 3 seconds on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios!

But what could I do? I had to get outside my comfort zone to make the most of this opportunity that we’d likely never have again.

And guess what? Yeah, some rides were crazy and I’d probably not do them again – but I did. And some rides seemed crazy but I ended up going back for more… and more…. and more! And others were much more my pace and I savoured those ones while I could.

So here’s a meditation inspired by the fondest of memories of the best family holiday we’ll probably ever have.

Naww, look how young we all were. My girls are so grown up now!

Buckle up, enjoy the ride!

Welcome to this meditation. We’re going to try a visualisation today. A metaphor for life’s ups and downs and how we can be present for all of it. So get yourself into a comfortable position, take a deep breath, and let’s go.

We’ve arrived at the carnival. 

Sit back in your seat. And buckle up.

We’re starting on the Ferris wheel. A gentle start; a kind, predictable pace. Feeling the breeze in your hair. Checking out the sights. There’s nowhere to be but wherever this ride takes us.

We can’t rush forward to the future. We can’t step backwards to the past. Just sitting in the here and now and enjoying each moment of this ride.

Experiencing the highs. And experiencing the lows. Knowing that neither view is permanent. That the ride continues on for a while, then it stops and we’ll have another opportunity to experience something different.

Like the adrenaline-fuelled roller coaster. Inching upward along the track, feeling the anticipation build. The excitement, the fear, the dizzying heights. A short, theatrical pause at the top… before gravity takes over and suddenly we’re racing downward and upside down and around, before coming to a grinding halt.

Or the heart-stopping ghost train. Setting off in the dark and feeling the fear of the unknown take hold. What’s coming next? When and how? Trying to anticipate, but it’s no use – for something else creeps up on us at a different time.

And whilst it’s sometimes in our power to decide which ride to go on, when we’re on it, all we can do is let our expectations go and simply buckle up.

Be open to taking in the sights when they’re there, and sitting through darkness when they’re not.

Letting the carriage take us along at whatever pace is right for that moment.

Accepting the topsy-turvy nature of some rides – and the predictable monotony of others.

Knowing some rides are scary but they end – and we can get off. And some rides are thrilling, but those too end – and we get off.

So allow yourself to smile and enjoy all of these rides.

Experience life as the carnival that it is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *