Blogs 2020

These words are the title of a book by Pema Chodron, whose writings I have been following for many years. It was published in 2019: did she know the pandemic was coming? Reading this book for short periods allows me to breathe in these pressing times. The practice is not easy, but easing. And Pema's writing has always been simple and straightforward, not filled with Buddhist terms which are incomprehensible to many Western minds who have not embraced Buddhism. Pema is the perfect bridge.

Even saying the subtitle gives me a deeper breath: "Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World." From many meditation teachers we have all received the impression (though that is not their teaching) that we should reach a point where we have achieved - peace, love, joy unending - but that was never the case, and never the teaching! Life itself - and meditation creates a path for this, is a PRACTICE, not a goal to be reached and achieved. Never have, by anyone, never  will. But the simple practice steadies and grounds us, even if only for a few moments. In this unpredictable world. it is the most we can hope for...

These words were spoken to me emphatically a few weeks ago by my longtime spiritual guide, Robert Sardello. I have been reading and practicing his teachings for over ten years, he is the best I know for some inner practices of moving from head (thinking) to heart(body resonance and inclusion of all nature, receiving, receiving.)

This now, is my many-times-a-day spiritual exercise, and I am discovering the power of actually being/feeling a part (and not a big part) of all creation! What relief! Until my mind kicks in with all the shoulds and musts and don'ts! Then the practice again, no matter what else I am doing.

Slowly (and very slowly, years) I am loosening my grip on old habits, assumed values, and must-do's...and inner space is opening for listening, receiving, and allowing. And every now and then I feel the flow - and myself in it - of large life and expanded time.

If anyone reading this would like to receive this simple practice, let me know...

Every day, as restrictions ebb and flow and now return, worry increases, reports of violence suddenly bring shock, and there is no sign of diminishing resports anywhere...instead, the world is excalating in anxiety and violence on many levels. What can we do, in our own pods, our own homes? How can we choose to not contribute to that rising tide?

We can choose to practice being in "NOW". Moment after moment. We can choose to limit our daily exposure to repetitive news every day. We can choose to go outside and allow the great earth, and the beautiful breezes and the sky to open our limited and limiting horizons. We can offer ourselves to expanding grace.

These are just a beginning to what we can do...breathe deeply every day. Expand. Expand.

It is indeed a strange time. No matter how we are able to arrange our day, get food, slow down, catch up; even if we don't watch too much of the news (really, why would we? Mostly repetition of urgency), that unsettledness is in the air. If there is anything strong and undeniable about this time, it is that - no matter how well off we are - we all share the unsettledness of the Earth herself. The weather is her message - the extremes and the unsettledness.

Some watch more tv. Some walk and read and cook. Some worry and pace, and others cannot sleep.Some meditate, or meditate more. But the one strand we all share is that we don't have any idea of how long these conditions will go on, nor what we can do to relieve the extreme anxiety, especially of the young, parents, school kids, and the elderly who have no one to care for them.

There are many other kinds of life-circumstances I could name, but we see them every day in some form or another, and we are ourselves included.

The one important - and I think this most important condition to address - is our anxiety, both personal and the anxiety of those we live with and associate with. Any help with our own anxiety, even a few moments of settling ourselves or someone else, will contribute to the settling of the world.

"As We Carry On" is the title of a song by Carolyn McDade, sung by her choirs of women in many parts of the world. The title comes to me this morning as a phrase to repeat as we we move through these days, weeks, months and what might turn out to be years. The world is changed already. We are not going back.

So each day - for me - and I invite you, dear reader - to silentsly say a few times a phrase like this: "I think. I let it be. I let go." Or another, repetitive prayer - this is the one I use:

"May we be safe. May we be contented. May we be healthy. May we live with ease. May we feel loved."

Even if we go back to the anxiety that we might not have personally, we are sharing the collective anxiety of our present world.Repeat these phrases for others as well as ourselves.

Latest comments

18.10 | 18:29

Thanks, Mike...so glad you found it here. I think it's remarkable. Holly's grandmother is one of my long and close friends; it was she who sent it.

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18.10 | 17:38

Thanks for posting this. I heard it read from Abbey Theatre in their "Dear Ireland" and was hoping that I would find it on the web. I thought it stole the show.

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03.03 | 17:19

Laurie...I might have my copy and will look for it. Otherwise...order from Amazon.
It is beyond inspiring. I will let you know. It's on kindle too.

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03.03 | 16:53

Hi Brenda, I would like to read The Choice. Where would I find a copy?

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