happy friday! i'm packing up to leave to teach my yoga retreat with steve in west virginia. we have a full group, great people running our kitchen and the weather forecast is lovely. i am filled with gratitude about all of this. there are also a lot of big transitions and losses going on with people that i love and i am really feeling for them. it feels like such a honor to be there for them yet when i'm not quite sure how to help or what to say when life is big and hard. social researcher brene brown says that one of the most vulnerable times is figuring out to say to someone who is grieving. what helps me is to come back to the immediate moment, as pema chodron so beautifully expresses in the quote below, and remember that our whole big, messy lives can be exactly the fuel we need to soften and grow and become who we really know we are. remembering this makes me feel like wherever i am standing is the best place i could possible be.
"Now. That's the key. Now, now, now. Mindfulness trains you to be awake
and alive, fully curious, about what? Well, about now, right? You sit
in meditation and the out-breath is now and waking up from your
fantasies is now and even the fantasies are now although they seem to
take you into the past and into the future. The more you can be
completely now, the more you realize that you're in the center of the
world, standing in the middle of a sacred circle. It's no small affair,
whether you're brushing your teeth or cooking your food or wiping your
bottom. Whatever you're doing, you're doing it now.
Our life's work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there
were two people who were exactly the same--same body, same speech, same
mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the
same--one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could
use it to become more resentful, bitter and sour. It doesn't matter
what you are given, whether it's physical deformity or enormous wealth
or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability,
life in the middle of a madhouse or life in the middle of a peaceful,
silent desert. Whatever you're given can wake you up or put you to
sleep. That's the challenge of now: What are you going to do with what
you have already--your body, your speech, your mind?"
--Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness