Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Compassion While Angry

The other day I was in a fit. I was fed up and overwhelmed. And the worst part of it all was that I was treading familiar territory; being mad about the same things I've been mad about before was just adding to the flame of anger that was already within me.

I tried a new practice and was annoyed with it when just days earlier I had been so happy and so pleased with myself! Then, I was on new path! Now, I was dried up, yesterday's news, no one going anywhere.

I curled my self-pity and lostness into bed and picked up one of my trusty books. Somewhere between someone's good advice, I realized I had been believing that when I'm angry I don't deserve my love, kindness, or compassion.

And this is true of how I treat others. If anyone or anyplace is angry, then I want outta there. I will leave leave leave.

So this time I chose not to believe the worst about myself during my time of anger. I practiced tonglen with a very specific audience in mind (to all thirty-four year old women who have been in an unmarried relationship for four years and do not have children . . .) because I cannot be the only one going through this anger.

I understood better the wisdom that the anger would not be inside me if I didn't have the capacity to be this angry. So I tried something new and prayed to God for help with this anger. What makes me laugh is how much I hate the phrase, "I gave it to God." This is prompting me to make a distinction. I like the phrase, "Give it to God" because it implies that no one has to carry her burden alone. It implies a humbleness that the load is too heavy and that it's ok to ask for help. But I hate the "I gave it to God" because that implies my part is over. As if I just gave it away once and now I'm good to go. Maybe no one ever implied those meanings. Many of my discussions with people about prayer have felt naive and superficial to me. Maybe those seeds of naivete and superficiality are smaller in me now so that I can have these types of discussions.

I'm trying what I can these days to go deeper, especially now that I see better the ways in which I have dug a rutted dirt road with my same old patterns. Here's to the water to wear the path down and let me start anew. (Especially as we begin a new year!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Caroline Myss Quote

Always go with the choice that scares you the most because that's the one that is going to require the most from you.--Caroline Myss

This is a tricky one because the ego/mind is almost always getting in the way. The first time I heard this, I was in tears because I thought I was afraid of action X (leaving). It turns out I was afraid of action Y (staying), which was the opposite of action X. Oh, mind!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Like a Seed

Tonight Sister Ellie continued talking about the five hindrances and focused on restlessness and worry. She cited Gil Fronsdal's talk on restlessness and worry, which talks about understanding our restlessness and worry the way a farmer would plant a seed. We need to take the time to see what this hindrance is about.

I have been blessed with the bad habit of overeating and I recently saw two things that triggered my overeating. One cause was being overwhelmed by things to do that I do not want to do. Eating became a way of trying to hurry up time and to buy more time all at once. In other words, it was a way to bliss out (not that the eating was blissful; it was actually quick and, eventually, physically painful) and not pay attention to what was actually happening. It happened because I was restless and worried.

I also experience restlessness and worry when I indulge in my fantasies and dreams. This has been something I've tried to reign in because it takes me out of the moment and it breeds malcontent with the current state of things, yet I also try to be clear to myself about my deep desires so that I can gauge whether I'm taking action in places where I want to take action. I'm learning, that is, when to be fanciful and when to be more pragmatic and disciplined. These are admirable qualities. When indulging in these dreams, the fears and the shoulds begin to arise. I think of what won't work, how I'm repeating past failures, how much time I need before I can start anything, how if I change then I would be betraying someone or acting in a way that I should be ashamed of.

This only serves as a metaphor that maybe one day I can investigate further--a seed does not question its own growth. It allows itself to grow. It doesn't want to get out of the present moment just because it hasn't realized its final (as if there were such a thing) form. Nor does it stop itself from becoming what it will be.

I would like to keep this in mind as I continue to grow into myself. Nothing will be wasted (even the energy spent in restlessness and worry), but I would like to cultivate a healthy ground where I can stay in the present moment and recognize that even if the present moment may not be what I would choose for myself that it will indeed lead me to my future self.