I did it again: pushed myself so hard, I got sick. Even though I know I’m wired this way: too tired = sick, I continue to push past my limits, not get enough rest or take proper care of myself. When I won’t listen, keep going anyway, my body revolts, shuts down. Headaches, tension, dizziness, nausea, unable to process what I eat like a body should, inability to think clearly or make good decisions–exhaustion.
This morning, I listened to some of Tara Brach‘s cd “Radical Self-Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame.” She also wrote a book on the same topic, “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.” For me, these teachings pair perfectly with the work of Brene’ Brown. In the part I listened to, Tara talked about how our culture’s addiction to rushing, busyness, overwork, and the pressure to do more, be more is a kind of violence. She said that the Chinese character for “busyness” is translated as “heart killing.”
And yet, what did I do while I listened to her talk about this habitual strategy that causes so much suffering? Even when I’d taken a sick day from work, had been willing to admit I needed a break and rest? I cleaned off my desk and balanced the checkbook and did some mending. Sick as I am, even when I am willing to admit it and stay home, I don’t allow myself to rest, do less, just be. Even now, I should be on the couch, taking a nap, and here I am instead.
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.” ~Tara Brach, “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.”
Tara suggests that we take a “sacred pause.” She said that “we can’t see what’s true…when we are busy blaming, hiding, and fixing and improving and getting other things done.” Just a little while ago, I went into the backyard and sat in the sun. It’s cold out today, so I was in a sweater, down vest, flannel pjs, and snow boots, but sat in the sun, my own little Sun Salutation, (without all the moving around). I took a sacred pause. I closed my eyes and listened to the kids on recess at the grade school around the corner, the wind in the trees, my own breath in and out. I felt the true measure, the full depth and weight of my weariness. And once again, I said to myself, “I am so sorry. You deserve so much better.”