I love roller coasters. I didn’t know that I love them until last weekend, when I visited the “happiest place on Earth” for the first time since childhood. (My partner ran the Tinker Bell Half-Marathon.) I rode California Screamin’. I lived to tell you that there is nothing I’ve experienced like practicing mindfulness while hurtling along at top speed through sharp drops and, best of all, upside down!!
Being in this happy place offers many opportunities for practice. Pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Endless lines. Princess melt-downs. Life-sized chipmunks. How do we practice in the midst of commercialized imagination? It’s not so different from daily life, except the thrill rides are relatively clean, safe, and have height limits. (Now home, slowly bringing my Parasympathetic Nervous System back on line….)
To my surprise, the contradictions balanced out and I found myself very present. Enjoying the ride, the splash, the soundtrack, the sights (amazing people watching!), and smells. I learned, to my delight, that even while riding a roller coaster we can practice finding our center, breathing, opening our mouths… and California Screamin’!