Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

"Just because," he said.

“Just because,” he said.

1. Truth: Each day has its own energy. You can either fight it or “flow with the go.” Today’s energy seems to be “you really aren’t going to get a lot of new things done, so relax and be happy with what you’ve already accomplished.” Okay, Tuesday. Okay.

2. Truth: I seem to be having a run of good luck. I was invited to do a guest post for a blogger and a series I have loved as a reader, I was awarded a Superior ranking on my annual evaluation at CSU (fifth year in a row, the highest ranking you can get), Eric bought me flowers “just because,” and the sun is out.

3. Truth: Since I stopped dieting and overexercising, I feel so much better. I hadn’t realized until recently how much the cycle of starving and binging, pushing and punishing my body was ruining my health, my overall sense of wellbeing. That plus stress was making me miserable. I’m a bit heavier now, but I feel good.

One wish: May we tune into the energy of our body and our experience, and rather than resisting, running away, or ignoring what arises, may we open our hearts and allow what is.

Three Truths and One Wish

beachgrass1. Today is gray and cold, kind of miserable. After a couple days of blue sky and almost too hot, it’s making me feel a little down — thus this picture of clear skies over the ocean from one of our summer trips. If I stare at it long enough I can almost hear the waves.

2. Sometimes the most difficult thing about meditation is keeping your seat. Today I spent most of the time resisting the urge to quit, wanting to get up, run off, go somewhere else, do anything other than sit there, but I didn’t. I stayed.

3. I’m spending part of my Spring Break doing all the things I’ve been avoiding. They are things that have to be done, like getting an eye exam and taking the dogs to the vet, but they aren’t what I’d call fun or relaxing.

One wish: That we can meet whatever might arise for us with an open heart.

Three Truths and One Wish

The view from here

The view from here

1. Truth: I woke up this morning and thought today was tomorrow. I was absolutely sure it was Wednesday. I didn’t want to go to yoga, contemplated staying in bed, sleeping in instead. I rallied, like I always do, and it wasn’t until I was standing in the kitchen making myself a half cup of coffee that I realized it was Tuesday. It wasn’t a yoga morning but rather my turn to walk the dogs. Daylight Savings Time, this time around meaning the loss of a whole hour, takes me at least a week to recover from.

2. Truth: Cultivating awareness is so important. I have been noticing lately how much damage we do by not being able to even see ourselves. We act out, our decisions clouded by confusion, complaining and blaming, being irritated and aggressive, generating so much suffering. We are so caught up in our story about what’s going on, we don’t even know what’s really happening.

3. Truth: There is joy, comfort in the smallest of things. A pop song on the radio with silly lyrics that makes you want to move, sharing food with someone, blue sky, a moment of quiet, the sweetness of a raspberry, the tartness of a lemon, the first purple crocus of the year, a dog sigh, the love note left on the counter. It’s right there, all you have to do is look, open yourself to it, allow it to touch you.

One wish: That even in the depths of our suffering, in moments of confusion and bewilderment, we can return to awareness, we can see and experience what is really going on, and we can connect with basic goodness.

Three Truths and One Wish

Ringo and Sam each have their own style of couching

Ringo and Sam each have their own style of couching

1. Truth: I am allowing myself to be too busy. Even though I said I wouldn’t be busy this semester, was going to stop doing that, here I am. I’m over scheduled, over committed, trying to do too much. There’s no space, no gaps, no room to breathe and be still.

2. Truth: Too busy is so harmful. My health suffers, my relationships become difficult, work is a challenge, and my thinking is confused. I start taking shortcuts and am no longer doing my best, for myself or anyone else. I skip the gym, don’t get enough sleep, eat crap without thinking. I feel bewildered. I am unable to prioritize and have a constant nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something. In this compromised state, I don’t stop until I get to the point of total overwhelm.

3. Truth: I need to slow down. Take care, pace myself, check myself before I wreck myself. Luckily most of the things I do aren’t that important in a global sense. If I have to give something up or it takes longer to be finished, probably no one will die as a result.

One wish: When we find that we are too busy, that we can’t keep up and are running ourselves into the ground, may we pause, find some stillness and space, notice where we are and be gentle. May we know deep in our bones that even if we did nothing at all, we’d still be enough.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: I generate my own suffering. When I think about any problem I have, distill it down to its most essential and most fundamental quality, I can clearly see that it is resistance, disappointment, a rejection of reality — this is what makes me suffer, and it is of my own making. I choose how to think about and respond to what arises, and I don’t always make the best choices.

2. Truth: I get upset about the possibility of making a mistake. I try so hard to prevent it, get obsessed with how to fix whatever is “wrong,” can’t stop looking for ways to prevent complications, spend way too much time preparing and worrying, am constantly second guessing myself, and fall into an utter panic when I think I’ve messed up or made the wrong choice and somehow caused more suffering.

3. Truth: The only antidote is self-compassion and surrender. I can trust myself to do my best. I can forgive myself when things go wrong. I can let myself off the hook. I can be with my own pain, gentle and open. I can remember that life is part preparation and part letting go. I can relax.

Another one from our walk this morning

Another one from our walk this morning

One Wish: That I know deep down in my bones that I can’t control everything. That I find ease in that awareness. May all those like me soften, be gentle with themselves, ask for help when they need it, let go of any expectation of perfection, and may we all surrender to our experience just as it is — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal.

Three Truths and One Wish

snowmoon021. Truth: There’s lots to worry about, if we choose to worry. 80 million people’s personal information was recently compromised during a hack of health provider Anthem’s system, putting people at risk for identity theft, with the potential for loss of privacy, security, and money. Just about everything we eat or touch has been reportedly linked to cancer. Ebola and terrorism are real. Everyone we love will eventually get sick and die. If we want to worry, we don’t have to look for reasons. Being alive is risky, and we are vulnerable. There is no moment in our life that isn’t ripe with the potential for something bad to happen, for something to go horribly wrong. We aren’t in control, and we are never really safe. This is the human experience. “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest,” (Pema Chödrön).

2. Truth: We don’t have to freak out when difficult situations occur. When the shit hits the fan, when strong feelings arise, we can make a choice about how to react. We don’t have to crumble in the face of adversity. We don’t need to resist every opportunity that involves obstacles. We don’t need to become trapped by our fear, imprisoned by our struggles. We can work to prepare for the worst, but it doesn’t mean we must live in dread, or panic when the worst does come. When we know a snow storm is on its way, we can get milk and bread, make sure we are dressed warmly and have a snow shovel, help who we can help, and then relax while we wait, meet whatever comes with wisdom and equanimity. Do what you can and then let go.

3. Truth: Life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible — keep your heart open. There’s a story Pema Chödrön shares in her book The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World that explains this dilemma so well. She says,

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

One Wish: (okay, it’s more than one). May we meet difficulty with wisdom and equanimity. May we help when and where we can. May we taste the strawberry, savor it. May we “appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

Three Truths and One Wish

It says "feast" but I like how the script almost makes it look like "beast."

It says “feast” but I like how the script almost makes it look like “beast.”

Healing the self means committing ourselves to a wholehearted willingness to be what and how we are — beings frail and fragile, strong and passionate, neurotic and balanced, diseased and whole, partial and complete, stingy and generous, twisted and straight, storm-tossed and quiescent, bound and free. ~Paula Gunn Allen

1. Truth: Change always begins with awareness. When something clearly isn’t working, no longer serves me (if it ever did), I am faced with “how do I chance this pattern, this habitual way of being?” At first, all I need to do is notice how things are. I sit back, relax, and observe without any judgement or agenda. I watch what arises, notice how I react, see how things really are. I don’t do anything to intervene, don’t need to interrupt or redirect. I am simply a curious witness. All I have to do is slow down and see.

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.  ~Pema Chödrön

2. Truth: This initial observation is helped by a sense of curiosity and humor, a quality of gentleness. If I notice things I don’t like, I don’t spend any energy assigning blame. I don’t disagree or beat myself up. If I notice things I like, I don’t cling to them. If I’m confused, I don’t get upset or give up. I continually remind myself that my goal is to see the situation as it is. i don’t need to do anything about it.

Self-compassion is approaching ourselves, our inner experience with spaciousness, with the quality of allowing which has a quality of gentleness. Instead of our usual tendency to want to get over something, to fix it, to make it go away, the path of compassion is totally different. Compassion allows. ~Robert Gonzales

3. Truth: Long before I embody change, I practice pausing. There’s no shortcut for me from awareness to change, but rather I find myself noticing and then pausing. After the pause, I might act out exactly as I always have. On the surface it may seem like nothing has changed, and yet something fundamental has shifted. I can see what is happening. I notice and pause. Even if I act out in a habitual way, I don’t beat myself up about it. I know if I keep practicing, I may one day rest in the pause, and even later still I might make a different choice, embody real change.

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ~Pema Chödrön

One wish: May we let ourselves off the hook, forgive ourselves. May we stop smashing ourselves to bits. May we be gentle. May we slow down and notice — all the ways we are suffering and all the ways we are brilliant. May we allow room for all of it: grief, relief, misery, and joy.