Blogs 2020

Four of Pema Chodron's most treasured books which I have read more than once over the years seem meant for this time:

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings

Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World

Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change

May we all take in the meanings of these titles as a Heart Practice; the books themselves are helpful but only if you feel drawn...

 

Even with the quarantine, is anyone else noticing how quickly the days pass? Almost every day I think to myself that I want to go to this website, but here it is weeks since the last visit. Autumn chores, unexpected phone calls, and a strange unexpected swirling of time is all in the air - with no end in sight. What surprises are rising as a result?

For me, it's first of all how little I actually can get done in a day. Time is both stretching out and closing in, like breathing. I find myself fighting it, wanting to do other things, then berating myself for not getting more done...all useless and fruitless.

I keep before me Pema Chodron's book "Welcoming the Unwelcome". The title alone inspires me, even if I can do it infrequently. Her subtitle says even more to me "Wholehearted Living in a Broken World." The title alone inspires me, and I keep it visible to call me back to what's happening, to the present moment...sometimes it works, however briefly. Enough. Enough.

 

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.

Latest comments

12.02 | 08:41

Hi Laurie, You will find The Choice on amazon.ca//

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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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