All of a sudden, there’s a before and an after. The biggest pivot we’ve ever made. We’re reeling, falling through space, searching for a limb to grab, for ground under our feet.
That’s been my experience during the past several weeks. Was it yours?
My beloved Meditation teacher and friend at the Center for Mindful Living here in DC, Karolynn Coleman, who has studied Buddhist psychology for 30 years and trekked all over the Buddhist world, often shares these several beautiful verses at the end of our 30-minute meditations. She combines the words to an old Irish blessing, “The Long Time Sun,” with several verses of John O’Donohue’s gorgeous poem “Beannacht,” which means “blessing.”
Here’s a thought: give yourself a gift.
I just gave myself a birthday gift of a daylong retreat, “Cultivating an Inclusive Heart,” with Sharon Salzberg and Sylvia Boorstein. It seemed mildly radical to take a whole day to myself at the very start of December, the busy month, the month of giving and giving and giving and giving.
Due to my health challenges, I’m a little protective, even apprehensive, about overcommitting. Would I manage the whole day okay? Or would I be so tired I would have to come home? (And why, by the way, was I trying to sabotage my desire to go to this retreat?)
Do you sometimes feel like you’re drowning in posts and reports and news flashes and videos and the next abhorrent thing you truly wish you’d never heard about? In sales and Cyber Monday and everyone wanting your money and your attention? In the impossibility of reading everything, even the good stuff, maybe especially the good stuff, and feeling guilty, dismayed, discomfited because you can’t?
Here’s a BFO (a Blinding Flash of the Obvious): You have a choice. You have some options about what comes at you, how it comes at you, and whether you delete, filter, or in some way engage. It’s up to you.
Among the many beautiful and practical teachings of the venerable Thich Nhat Hahn, an all-time favorite of mine is Hugging Meditation.
When I first learned about this, I was a mother with 3 little boys, running her own business, cooking, and caring for her family. It was, let’s face it, hectic! I loved listening to cassette tapes of Thich Nhat Hahn, and one of the segments was on Hugging Meditation. He said something along the lines of, when you hug your child don’t do it half-heartedly, thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner or worrying over the call you have to make in an hour. Be fully present to your child and do it with your whole heart.