Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s passing memory and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. ~Pema Chödrön
1. Truth: We all make mistakes. We harm, hurt, mess up, maim, wreck, break, smash, and ruin. We hurt ourselves, each other, our environment and everything in it. Nothing is safe from us. Even when we don’t plan or intend to, even when we don’t realize we are–we ALL make mistakes and do damage.
2. Truth: We are doing the best we can. In terms of being able to manifest wisdom and compassion, we are where we are. Some are trapped in complete ignorance, delusion, and confusion. Some are caught in aggression or attachment. Some are aware of their faulty behavior, their habitual patterns and discursive thinking, but are unable to stop, to interrupt themselves. Others do pretty good most of the time, but when they are tired or sick or distracted by strong emotions, even they falter. Some of us swing wildly between all of these experiences, within a single day, one hour, one single moment even. But whatever happens, whatever we do, it’s the best we could manage at the time.
3. Truth: We can forgive ourselves and others. We always have the opportunity to accept rather than reject what is happening, to let go and start over. We don’t have to remain locked in a battle over what was, what can’t be changed. We don’t have to struggle against who we are, reject and abandon ourselves. We can be gentle and come back, start over, begin again. We don’t have to give up, we can keep trying. We can approach every moment as an entirely new moment, a fresh start. We can keep practicing, and “when we know better, we’ll do better,” (Oprah said something like that once, and who are we to argue with Oprah?).
We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön
One wish: That we can be gentle with ourselves and each other, that we can relax into things as they are, and generate compassion and forgiveness for how messy, confused, brilliant, and precious we all are, and know that it is all workable and we are fundamentally sane.