Marc and I just returned from a weekend retreat with Pema Chodron and Sakyong Mipham. One of the things they talked about most was working with our emotions.
We all have certain feelings we don't like. We lose our temper. We get scared and feel frozen. We feel lost and bewildered.
When we feel like this and we notice we feel like this - that's a success already. Because if we can notice how we feel, it hasn't taken over our mind completely.
But it doesn't feel like a success. It feels like a failure.
We've lost it - again. It feels like something is wrong - we're not doing it right - we are out of control - something in us must be broken...
But this very feeling of despair is an opening.
If we can pause and make some space for what we feel, if we can bring some gentleness to our experience... that's when things can start to shift.
We think we have to beat ourselves into submission - but that isn't what works.
Gentleness is what works.
Underneath our frustration, our fear, our bewilderment... is some kind of tenderness.
With gentleness we can start to touch that tenderness.
That tenderness is the doorway to compassion - for ourselves and for others.
It takes a lot of courage to face what we feel.. to welcome it, to be open to it.
If we want a more compassionate world, we can help by feeling what we feel. Even if what we feel is hopelessness. (I have a whole show about this I'm doing this weekend and next - check it out...)
So take a moment to pause, feel what you feel right now, and bring some quality of caring and gentleness to whatever is here for you.
This is a brave act and I personally thank you for your courage in doing this.