Yoga theme on Wednesday? "Soften." I was feeling pretty solid and clear, so the idea of softening to the world around me seemed like a nice bit of icing on my otherwise calm state. I should know myself well enough to know that any state I'm in is subject to change multiple times over the course of days. I'm convinced my core is just working through some "shit," and that eventually this will move out of my way if I'm conscious of it. The stuff we work through not inherently bad, but it is inherently real if we are believing it. I don't mind moving through. I mind getting stuck on something.
Some messages headed my way this week from a variety of sources:
1. "To use a metaphor from the Buddha, the unavoidable pains of life are its "first darts." But then we add insult to injury with our reactions to these darts...When you throw second darts, you are the person you hurt most. The suffering - mild to severe - in second darts is truly unnecessary. As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." --Rick Hanson
2. "If we can stop locating our sense of self in the relentless surge of the monkey mind's slapdash chatter, we can be fully attuned to the life that's right in front of us. Only then are we able to want what we actually have...Here's the logical conclusion: It's downright stupid and self-destructive to keep infecting our imaginations with pictures of loss and failure, doom and gloom, fear and loathing. The far more sensible approach is to expect blessings."
3. "Without realizing it, we continually put up protective walls made of opinions, prejudices, and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. These walls are further fortified by emotions of all kinds: anger, craving, indifference, jealousy, and arrogance. But fortunately for us, the soft spot—our innate ability to love and to care about things—is like a crack in these walls we erect. It’s a natural opening in the barriers we create when we’re afraid. With practice we can learn to find this opening." --Pema Chodron
My take aways?
1. Accept the pain, but don't exacerbate it by dwelling on it.
2. You may as well expect good things to happen to you.
3. There isn't any room for walls in wide open spaces (paraphrasing Buddy Wakefield on this one).
4. The moment we soften, invite the vulnerability and fear in, that is the moment we are real, and we can face what is in front of us without artifice or irrationality.
Sometimes, really, it just takes these reminders of shared humanity, of gentleness with ourselves and others to diffuse a situation, and provide a reminder of what we're all doing here together.