Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Practicing Peace in Times of War

I just read this wonderful quote by Pema Chodron, taken from her book Practicing Peace in Times of War and quoted from the Shambhala Blog)

When you’re like a keg of dynamite just about to go off, patience means just slowing down at that point—just pausing—instead of immediately acting on your usual, habitual response. You refrain from acting, you stop talking to yourself, and then you connect with the soft spot. But at the same time you are completely and totally honest with yourself about what you are feeling. You’re not suppressing anything; patience has nothing to do with suppression. In fact, it has everything to do with a gentle, honest relationship with yourself. If you wait and don’t fuel the rage with your thoughts, you can be very honest about the fact that you long for revenge; nevertheless you keep interrupting the torturous story line and stay with the underlying vulnerability. That frustration, that uneasiness and vulnerability, is nothing solid. And yet it is painful to experience. Still, just wait and be patient with your anguish and with the discomfort of it. This means relaxing with that restless, hot energy—knowing that it’s the only way to find peace for ourselves or the world.

This mindfulness practice has been very helpful to me as I work through the uncertainties of my life, and the stresses caused by sudden change.  I won't lie to you - I've been drawn to food.  I've felt like I was moving against a familiar and dangerous current trying to sweep me away.  My old unhealthy coping strategies are pushing against the new direction and momentum I've developed these past few months.  This has been a good test.  I'm choosing to feel the feelings, talk about them and write about them, and I can't believe that it's helping.  I'm strong enough to move through the current and get to safety.

Life isn't all rage and anguish.  We're figuring things out and some of it is very exciting.  And I still have the daily pleasures of a kind husband, sweet kids, a growing garden, a smaller/healthier body, my first private practice client, and the peacefulness of walking during a pale pink sunset.

I don't take those good things for granted.

I hope you all are doing well on your own healthy adventures, and I wish you the very best.

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