Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

morningpractice1. Truth: The First Noble Truth of Buddhism is “life is suffering.” A better translation might be that life is uncomfortable. Things don’t go as we planned, don’t turn out the way we want. And the causes and conditions that impact how things work are complicated and mostly out of our control, even as we experience the consequences.

2. Truth: I don’t know what I’m doing. Add that to the fact that life is suffering, is uncomfortable, and it can seem pretty discouraging, but I’m not going to give up. I’ll keep trying.

3. Truth: There is so much to do. The list is so crazy long it seems impossible, but then I remember I don’t have to do it all at once. I can focus simply on what’s next, take one simple step.

One wish: That however we might be uncomfortable, we don’t give up. May our surrender to our discomfort and not knowing, and the awareness that we are together in these conditions ease our suffering.

Three Truths and One Wish

mebeach1. Truth: This summer hasn’t gone as expected. It got hijacked by illness and injury, the need to set clear boundaries and rest. Taking care of myself, things at work, and our house was where my effort was spent. All the things I’d intended to do didn’t happen, had to wait.

2. Truth: I’ve learned a lot about boundaries and limits. My mind is overly optimistic about what’s possible, and my heart wants to give so much. I’ve had to accept that I can’t go as fast as I’d like to, do everything I want. I also understand that it’s okay, even necessary to tell others what is enough, to tell them no, that they won’t like it but that doesn’t matter if it’s what I need.

3. Truth: This summer shifted my rhythm. I have a sense of all the things that need done, all the stuff I’d like to do, but instead of going on attack, pushing through the day, I ease into it. I consider “what’s next?” in a much gentler way, more easily let go of what’s not going to happen.

Bonus truth: I love my little life, my sweet house and my tiny family. This space, the love, the comfort are home.

One wish: That we can bear witness to all the struggles and need, our own and those of others, and do what we can without doing too much.

Three Truths and One Wish

image by Eric

image by Eric

1. Truth: I am more able than I give myself credit for. I am a harsh critic, spending way too much time fussing over the weak spots, the things not done, the mistakes, and forgetting to notice the wins. I rush right past my good effort without celebration, without joy. I think “I can’t” without even giving myself a chance to try.

2. Truth: Today I’m diving in. I can’t quite explain why but I’m feeling a weird sort of mania — saying yes, signing up, making reservations. Maybe it has something to do with spending the morning home alone taking care of lingering tasks. Maybe I’ve cleared the space necessary for what’s next.

3. Truth: I have something to offer. Knowing that, it’s important not to sit on it, hide it, avoid it, keep it to myself. Holding it in is only generating suffering for me, and possibly keeping something from someone who really needs it.

One wish: May we recognize the brilliant light of our true nature, and may love give us the courage to show up and keep our hearts open.

Three Truths and One Wish

berryharvest1. This summer is going too fast. And it took me so much longer this year to settle in — I was sick, my CSU situation was not working, and I was so depressed. It took some real effort to work with all that, and now that I’m finally sinking into summer, slowing down, savoring it, it’s already almost July!

2. I’m leaving for Oregon on Friday. I always feel such anxiety planning for a trip. I don’t know what to pack, I obsess about what I’ll eat, I’m anxious that I’ll forget something important like a prescription or my bag will get lost or the rental car will break down. I worry about what might happen while I’m gone. I’m not very good at traveling. I’m not very good at leaving the house.

3. I’m working hard at being okay with accomplishing less. I’ve been pushing myself so hard the last few years. That would be okay if I’d been enjoying it more, but instead I can sometimes feel depleted, sad, dissatisfied. As an antidote, I’m lowering the bar and being gentle with myself, continuing with what seems like the work of my life — self-compassion, not smashing myself to bits.

One wish: May we all slow down, sink into this season, and savor it, and may we do so in the company of love.

Three Truths and One Wish

peonies031. Truth: I am driven by a need for external approval and permission. Even though I am smart, fundamentally wise and intuitive, I am constantly seeking out a second opinion. Especially when I have a big decision to make or I find myself in a difficult situation, even if I know what’s right, am absolutely certain, I’m uncomfortable unless I get someone I trust to agree, to tell me I’m okay. It’s incredibly painful, but I’m working on it. I’m risking trusting myself, no matter what anyone else might think about it.

2. Truth: When a difficult situation arises, my default is to either avoid it or get too busy to deal with it. This is a pattern I’ve spent a lifetime perfecting, so now that I realize that it doesn’t actually work, that it isn’t the best thing for me, I also realize it’s really hard to shift. Awareness is a good first step, seeing what I’m doing, noticing and paying attention to it. Pausing before acting comes next, getting comfortable with not immediately checking out or rushing off when things get uncomfortable.

3. Truth: Even when I try my hardest to do no harm, to do good, I mess up. There are just too many causes and conditions at work for me to be able to control the outcome of any situation. I was thinking about it this morning when I saw a spider in our bathtub. I typically prefer to move a bug outside if I can, rather than kill it. This morning was a bit different, because on Sunday when we got back from hiking, we were checking Sam for ticks and found three bright red bites on his belly. We don’t know what bug exactly, but when I saw the spider in the tub, I was thinking “it could have been spider bites,” and it made me want to kill it. I didn’t, but when I captured it under a glass, I broke off a part of one of its legs. I released it into the backyard, but who knows what kind of harm I actually did, and I certainly am under no illusion that I somehow saved Sam from ever getting bit again.

One wish: That when we make mistakes, are misunderstood, or find ourselves in the midst of some other difficult situation, we can be gentle and kind, with ourselves and others.


Three Truths and One Wish


The first peony opening in my garden

1. Truth: I read a lot of books at once. It’s a bad habit I picked up in graduate school, where each week I had to make it through hundreds of pages of content, and no matter how good it might be I could never read just a single book from beginning to end because there was too much other reading to do. That approach stuck with me. Right now I’m actively reading five books, and in the midst of at least ten more.

2. Truth: Through books, I can access so much wisdom. But I’m not a snob. I think that there is the same kind of wisdom available online, on television, in films, on stage, etc. — anywhere that humans are endeavoring to tell the truth, to share their stories, there is wisdom to be found.

3. Truth: At least once a day, but usually more, I encounter truth that has the potential to change everything. This morning, it happened while reading Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. I saw myself so clearly in the way she talked about how we cover up our discomfort with short term solutions and distract ourselves from our deepest longings with busyness. It goes back to what Adreanna Limbach said about laziness. I can see how easily I get confused, but also know there is a way out.

One wish: May we reconnect with our deepest longing, may the next necessary step be obvious and easy, and may we continue to be patient with ourselves and the process.

Three Truths and One Wish

It's a tiny harvest so far, but I'll take it

It’s a tiny harvest so far, but I’ll take it

The theme for Issue #4 of Mabel Magazine is “what’s next.” Initial pitch and synopsis submissions are due June 19th. Some of the suggested prompts are:

  • Are you beginning a new chapter in the current adventures of your life or work?
  • Are you working on plans for a grand new endeavor that will take your work or your life in a new direction?
  • Do you have a story about how you’re working through and handling a major shift in your work or life?

I’m submitting something, so as I was writing in my journal this morning I was brainstorming what I might write about. Looking back on the life rehab I’ve been undergoing for the past three+ years, I was considering what kind of advice I have for anyone hoping to do the same. Here’s just three things I know to be true when you are making a change.

1. Truth: Know what you want. When I first started to change my life, I knew in general what I wanted, but to get more specific I took all kinds of personality and “what’s your perfect job” sorts of quizzes, assessments, and tests. I spent a lot of time journaling about what I would do if money, time, other people’s feelings, etc. weren’t an issue. I wrote out what my perfect day would look like, made lists of my core values. I took ecourses and read lots of books. I had long conversations with people who understood and sometimes knew better. I wrote a mission statement for my life. I got really clear about what I wanted.

2. Truth: Show up and do the work. This is key. It’s great to spend time dreaming, planning, imagining, talking about the change, your new life, but at some point you have to stop staring at your toes and move. Don’t misunderstand me, though — this doesn’t mean a grand gesture, a big showy shift. It means taking one tiny step, doing one small thing that moves you towards your dream. For me, one way this happened was by writing and/or publishing something every day, starting this blog. Other times it was taking my camera with me and going for a long walk with the dogs. It was completing yoga teacher training. Sometimes it simply meant doing a load of laundry and feeding myself. Whatever it was, it was about not waiting for something to happen, and happening.

3. Truth: Don’t give up. This can take a really long time. It can be frustrating, disappointing, confusing. Your life won’t stop happening, be easy just so you can focus on this one thing. There will be obstacles — and if you are like me, the biggest one will be yourself. There might be layers and layers of stuff you need to work through to get yourself to your true center, to find your true north. You might need special training or certification, or just lots of practice. There might be things you need to heal or let go, and that can be hard, take time. Don’t give up.

One wish: May we know what we want, accept that we are allowed to want it. May we show up with open hearts and the wisdom to do what is necessary. May we keep the faith, hold our truth tenderly, move with courage and love, and never ever ever give up.