The cymbals chime three times to mark the start of the meditation period. Three chimes (how generous!) calling us to attention.

Despite the effort it took to come to practice today: to set aside work, to negotiate child care responsibilities, to silence your notifications, to set aside doubts, worries and future concerns, the first ching! nonetheless may prompt the question, “Am I ready?”

Seated on a cushion or in a chair with the hips or back supported, the second ringing…. “Am I really ready?”

One last thought. One last scratch. One last shift. Soon, the last chime.

When the reverberation from the final ‘ching’ fades, what will happen next?!  Will I be left alone? Yes. Will I be okay with that? Yes. Is this even worth it? Yes.

In his poem, Sometimes, David Whyte writes about moving through a forest in a particular way and encountering a place “whose only task is to trouble you with tiny but frightening requests… to stop what you are doing right now and to stop what you are becoming while you do it.”

It is your time to stop. It is my time to stop. And in the stopping we will find what it means to move forward together, skillfully, compassionately, fearlessly.

“Am I really, truly, ready?”