“Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without fighting.”
― Jack Kornfield
Wow, what a week of…yuck, muck and just plain old suffering. Ok, it was not all that bad but it certainly dumped a ton of annoyance all at once in my life. I have mentioned more than once that frigid arctic cold has settled over the midwest for what seems like weeks now. Here in Detroit we are talking multiple days in the the negative digits on the thermometer.
The cold is not only getting to me and my spirits but my house and car as well. Three pipes froze and burst on Monday night despite doing all of the prevention measures that normally work, like heat tape and dripping the pipes. This house was not made to withstand weeks below zero. My car battery decided to die at in Whole Foods parking lot on Friday. Thank goodness Jay was available to come and give me a jump. And a sinus cold finally got the better of me when I woke on my birthday unable to stand up without the world spinning out of control.
Nothing too horrible but enough to make me feel like life is picking on me, which can be a dangerous place. I can fall into the old habit of feeling sorry for myself. I begin to see all of life as crap and miss out on the goodness and joy of life. If I stop to look at it, my life is more goodness and joy than crap. The trick is I have to be willing to see the goodness, even when it seems like life is never-ending crap. This is not to say I ignore the crap but rather I allow it all, the goodness, joy and crap, to exist side by side. I have to let go of the evil black and white thinking that is poison to my soul.
So today the sun is shining and holy Mother of God it is going to be in the 20’s today. I could dwell on the fact it is going back down to -8 tonight but I am going to allow myself to enjoy the sun instead. I am going to go outside and take some pictures perhaps. Something to get out of the house beside going to work or the grocery store.
Here is this week’s Inspiration to Open Your Heart.
Getting Grief Right by Patrick O’Malley- Personally I think this is a must read for everyone. Grief is a powerful, unavoidable human experience and as a culture we don’t know how to deal with it well. There is a prevailing message grief can be managed and contained. A false message we can move through the grief and check each box off and get on with our lives. I am coming up to the third year anniversary of D’s death. I am not sure the grief ever fully ends, it becomes different, less intense at times. I needed to read how the depth of our loss is reflective of the depth of our love for who or what we lost. I need to know it is ok to still find myself crying on the way to work after 3 years.
Ten Real Life Love Stories That’ll Grab You by the Heart via StroyCorps- I love StoryCorps and these are great stories to uplift and remind you of how awesome life really is. If you ever get a chance to go and tell your story with StoryCorps I recommend it.
Return to Joy by Jack Kornfield- I have to agree the most radical thing I can do is choose to be happy. This reminds me that no matter what is going on in my life, how much I might be stuck on my suffering, I have a choice. My spiritual practice is as much about cultivating joy and compassion as it is letting go of suffering.
Ode to Failure by Peter Grandbois-I have to admit I became uncomfortable reading this essay. The direct voice of the writer reminding us of how failure is inherent in life brought an awareness and a freedom from the grasping of success. Beautifully written this is worth reading a few times to absorb all the insights. Yes, life is not about winning, being the best or succeeding all the time, but rather showing up and enjoying the life we have.
And finally, Not Everything Needs to be Published by Jennifer S. White- I needed to read this post. I needed the reminder I write because I have to write. The last few months my journal is the main place my writing happening. Prolific amounts of writing and none of it for consummation by others. Yes, some ideas may get worked out for a blog post or an essay but it is for me. Also, much of what I write in my creative writing workshops is not for publication. Sometimes I feel like I am not writing enough because I am not publishing more but writing is not about publishing, writing is one of the ways I meet my soul.
May your coming week be filled with moments to choose joy. ~Kira