You’ve been hearing a lot lately about some of the challenges we’ve faced with Jim’s now-famous “gizzard” and my son-in-law’s leukemia diagnosis.
In her book Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron talks about how everything that happens to us has an upside. Well, she doesn’t call it “an upside” – but she talks about how something unexpected can make us stop spinning on that hamster-wheel of thought for a brief moment – and how that can truly bless us momentarily.
Sometimes, you are just skipping happily along through life when BAM! You get hit on the head by an event or even just a comment. It momentarily stops your thought process for just a second.
Pema posits that nothing in life is truly an interruption. Everything in our lives happens to help us awaken. But… awaken to what?
I think we are awakening to compassion; awakening to ourselves.
My own reactions to certain unexpected events often surprise me, and I find myself examining them: Why did I react that way?
But it’s that moment of surprise, shock -- a sort of ‘gap’ in our thinking for a split second – that really awakens us. That moment of bewilderment, astonishment -- Instead of reacting with anger at the driver who cuts us off or makes an obscene gesture, we can be grateful that he gave us a moment of paused surprise. He is our teacher.
We are stopped in our thinking by both ‘good’ things and ‘bad’ things. Sometimes, it takes an event so huge, it feels like an 18-wheeler just rolled over our lives to stop us from our constant grind of thought. But if we allow it to happen, gentle things like the nudge of your dog’s nose saying “pet me” is all it takes.
Today, as you go about your business, pause to notice the sunrise, or the beauty of a flower, a soft breeze or a lovely melody. See how many things you can notice or become aware of. Then allow gratitude to fill your heart. Even during the toughest moments, there is an opening of our hearts where light beams in to lighten our load.
My thoughts are with all of you as I write this tonight. Be strong and hang in there.