Friday, January 18, 2008

Gloriousness & Wretchedness

I don't know how I would have gotten through the pain and confusion of the last two years without this new thing I've discovered. It's called Buddhism.
(And this is exactly why I'm keeping this blog anon because my Catholic father would have a caniption right now.)
I am especially indebted to Pema Chodron whose books have given me immense strength and a brand new perspective.
She really encourages her readers to embrace the pain of being human. Bring on chaos and change she says; these are invaluable gifts of growth. She chooses titles for her books like: "Overcoming Difficulty" and "The Places That Scare You."
I'm reading "When Things Fall Apart" right now and she talks about not running from our pain but really feeling it. Feeling pain will help us understand our human nature, will help us have compassion for other people and hopefully allow us to become less attached to the way it's all going to turn out.
Man, that detachment is quite a good tool. Bless and release. Praise be.
Right now in my life I am practicing "leaning in to the sharp points." I tell you it sounds crazy but it really helps. It is practice at not being afraid. (And the Buddhists love that word "practice." Like yoga practice, it isn't something to finish or master. It's all just practicing, learning, rehearsing.) My favorite Pema quote at the moment is: "When faced with annihilation, you discover in yourself that which is indestructible."
Annihilation -- woo hoo! Bring it on! Indestructible? Praise be!
I just love her choice of words. It comforts me to relax a bit and say, Okay. I'm human. This is supposed to sting a little. Sometimes...quite a bit.
I went to Free Zuma Beach today (Free Therapy Beach I call it) and it was glorious. A January miracle. Sunny. Warm. No wind. No waves. The tide was way out and it created roving tide pools and little islands 20 feet from the normal shoreline. The kids and the adults had a great time.
Shortly after arriving, we saw a pod of gleaming dolphins passing by. The pod was huge, 20 dolphins easy. They were leaping and playing and we were clapping and jumping up and down (ok, I was jumping up and down). Suddenly a big wave started to build, the dolphins organized, the wave lifted from the sea, the sunlight gleamed through it and there were at least ten dolphins all surfing the same wave, silhouetted clear as day, beautiful against the yellow-blue water. Magnificent. Praise be!
One last quote of Pema's before I bid you goodnight. Thanks for reading. The comments have been so inspiring to read.
I love you.
And remember:
"Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you went to the beach, it is such a healing place. I just read an interview in The Sun with a woman named Miriam Greenspan on Moving From Grief to Gratitude. It was so inspiring and shares a similar philosophy as you favorite Buddhist. She is a predominantly Jungian psychotherapist and quoted Carl Jung: "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious...This procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not very popular. Congratulations on finding the courage to face and process through the darkness in order to come out into the light a balanced human being. Sending continual Love Rays from Ojai! BB