1. Truth: Life is beautiful.
Driving home the other day, I saw a large, golden mare standing in a field of grass, just down the street from my house. She was big enough to be a Clydesdale, but I don’t think they are ever that color. The sun rippled in her blonde mane as she bent her head to bite at the grass. Her person sat on the fence and watched her while a little boy rode past on his bike watching her too–all three of us, watching her, amazed. The sun was resting just at the top edge of the foothills, on its way down, washing everything in golden light.
And after work on Monday, after a long, hard day, when I was feeling completely exhausted and a little sad, I sat with Dexter on the couch, my head buried in his soft belly, feeling his heart beat against my forehead, and he bent his head towards mine, touching my face with his nose, and he sighed, and my whole body softened.
Looking into her eyes, having her look back, see me, both our hearts so open and grateful and brave, I tell her how thankful I am and that I adore her, our hands touch and tears fill both our eyes, even as we smile, our love and thanks a brilliant offering to the whole world.
Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. ~Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
2. Truth: Life is brutal.
This morning, while the dogs and I were walking, we heard the chaos and commotion of sirens, wave after wave, so it clearly was something bad. When we got back home, I went online and saw that someone’s car had gone off the road and into the river up the Poudre Canyon and one person had drowned. We had walked that morning along the same river where he’d died.
I saw a man sitting on the side of the road next to a Walmart shopping cart containing an army rucksack stuffed full. He was on the sidewalk in the shade, drinking a beer. When he got up, it was clear he was drunk, he stumbled and almost fell over, and then staggered down the sidewalk, clutching his beer in one hand and steering the cart with the other. I wondered where he was going, what was in his bag, who loved him.
Every person who has ever gone to prison, been an addict, broken a promise, or made a mistake was once loved by someone, probably is still, someone who can’t understand “how this happened” and doesn’t know what to do, who grieves and suffers and wishes.
And cancer. All the chaos it causes, the hearts it breaks, the suffering it generates.
On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us… ~Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
3. Life is precious, because it is both beautiful and brutal.
Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both… Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together. ~Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
One Wish: That even though we all have to take the hurt and the harm with the radiant and the wonderful, we know the preciousness of each moment, every breath. We feel the tender heart of sadness, but we keep it open, we stay mindful and present, not wanting to miss a single minute of it. And that we know we are basically good, that kindness and wisdom are always there.