There are days that it feels right to just throw in the towel. By this I mean times that feeling overwhelmed, stress, fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, self doubt, etc. seem to be all that is real in our reality. This is ok! Yes, I said it. It is ok as long as we develop the capacity to not be pulled away by our suffering but rather to acknowledge it and take care of it. Pushing it away or ignoring it will not help. It will come back stronger and with a fierce bite. We need to show it, ourselves, some love instead. One way to do this is to trust in our own experience and become intimate with our suffering. The key is to not drown in it. Visit it for a bit and just be with it. You have everything innate to be happy and so you have the capability to resolve and heal your suffering.
It happens to all of us. Even those of us who consistently wear rose colored glasses, identintify with the lyrics "you may say I'm a dreamer" and look for diamonds in the coal. This past Monday I had one of these days and I just went with it. This meant I cried for hours, literally. That felt really good, honestly. I went to my Sangha and felt instant renewal. A fellow Sangha member needed some deep listening and I was able to provide that with a few words of encouragement. During Dharma talk I shared my state and afterwards this person thanked me for giving him peace and ease even through my own pain. That was really powerful. His statement made a profound imprint on me. The following evening I attended a Dharma talk given by 2 nuns and 2 monks from Deer Park Zen Buddhist Monastery in California and it was so amazing. They addressed this very topic from the Zen Buddhist point of view which is what I am sharing in this blog. That talk made me feel so grounded and powerful in my life. One of the biggest points to me in our practice is that we need not seek from outside when everything we need is within us and recognizing that allows us to connect and inter- be with others and everything in our world like nothing else possibly could. So as we help ourselves become a little more transparent we can help others do the same. It starts with us and it ends with us. We need to open our hearts to ourselves and to what others have to offer. In so doing I believe that we can transform our suffering. It sounds simple and in theory it is but in this reality it is not necessarily so because we are not used to being open and real with ourselves or others. This world tells us to put on an act and don't show "weakness", vulnerabilities, happiness but just be "normal". Normal isn't real or fun. Let that "freak" flag fly. I am not telling you to do stuff that will cause harm or trouble but rather to simply be as you are. Try it on for size. If you need to cry for hours, run around the block a few times or as my friend Linda likes to do dance naked around the cherry tree in her yard. DO IT! Linda's type of taking care might get you in some hot water but I admit I tried it in my backyard after my husband died. It felt good. It was also about 10:30pm.
Give yourself, all of yourself, some real attention!