April 17, 2020.
It’s only Monday and I’m feeling anxious about various family members and all I want to do is hunker down with tasty snacks and forget about the rest of the week and everything that comes with it. Alas, life doesn’t work that way. Even this squirrel, who appears so content in the photo, was moments later focused on my intrusion. None of us are allowed to just be. Or, are we?
“There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
― Pema Chödrön
Lilac bloom on May 17, 2018.
The thermometer currently reads 18 degrees. The sky is gray. It’s snowing and blowing, and is forecast to continue like that through tomorrow morning. I try to live in the moment, to be mindful and present in my life. But right now, in this moment, I’m looking ahead to spring and lilacs in bloom.
Fight me, Pema Chödrön.
Some days are so hard that I’m tempted to give up and assume the fetal position. Over the last couple days a young relative was diagnosed with a health condition and then a neighborhood family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy. I’ve felt overwhelmed and weepy. But I’ve also experienced joy as I hugged my son, watched a magpie take flight, and listened to my snoring dogs as they snuggle together in their bed. I’ve made progress on my new writing project and shared laughter with my visiting brother-in-law. I didn’t give up and curl into a ball.
Life is a series of sunshine and shit-storms, and as long as I remember to think of it that way, the better I cope. The key (for me, anyway) is tapping into the light amidst the dark. Finding the balance. I was reminded of that as I struggled to balance the light and dark in this photo of Marcel.
The result is nowhere near perfect, but then again, neither is life.
I believe I’ve mentioned my aversion to wind. If not, suffice to say I do not like the blowy.
The blowy sets me on edge. I don’t enjoy listening to wind when I’m tucked into bed, I don’t like wind pushing me around when I’m running outside, and I don’t appreciate wind sucking (blowing) the life out of everything.
Today is a very windy day.
Enter Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart:
The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness. When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite. When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel its wetness instead. When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound. Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves. There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever.
Okay, Pema. I have met the wind and I hear its sound.
I haven’t been around these parts in quite some time.
Part of me feels badly about that, but another part knows it was necessary.
I needed that time to hunker down and conserve strength.
And the good news is that I am feeling stronger and more resilient these days.
Stuff has fallen apart.
But I’ve come to understand on a whole new level that stuff falls apart for everyone.
Life as we know it is an ongoing series of sunshine and shit-storms,
and I’m learning not to fight that truth.
As Pema Chodron writes in WHEN THINGS FALL APART:
Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
I’m grateful for that tiny Buddhist nun and the wisdom she shares, and I’m grateful for friends who reached out during my hunkering-down. I apologize for the silence and will be in touch.
Tracy in search of Owls