Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Healing always takes longer than I think it will. This is linked to the habitual way I rush in and try to fix it when anything is wrong. I try to hurry past the discomfort, and I get anxious when I can’t make things right. Like with Sam, I want him to be better as soon as possible, because it’s so hard for me to see him in pain and to deny him some of his favorite things, but his particular injury can take anywhere from two to six months to resolve. And if for some reason he tweaks his muscle again before he’s completely healed, we will have to start all over.

2. Truth: One essential ingredient for healing is rest. In this case, there is nothing to do. It’s all about not doing, being still. I don’t allow enough of it for myself, and that’s part of why I struggle so much — physically, emotionally, and mentally. Even when I’m exhausted, I push myself to keep going, sometimes until the only option is collapse.

3. Truth: We are all living under the shadow of death. When we were sitting on the floor with Sam last night, giving him his cold lazer treatment, Eric remarked that it reminded him of when we had Obi and Dexter put to sleep. We were in similar positions, in almost the same spot where it happened, and I totally understood what he meant. This came right after I was telling Sam we needed to get him better so he could live to be an old dog, and that eight wasn’t old. The whole thing made me think about how death is always right there, for all of us. It doesn’t care what we want, doesn’t concern itself with our schedule or plans.

One wish: May we be patient and gentle and spacious with our healing, allowing the time and effort (or non effort) it takes. And when the time comes, may we have an easy death.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: As a highly sensitive person, it can be hard for me to focus or stay calm. ALL of the information that is floating around in the environment, all the ideas and conversations and emotions and heat (or cold) sticks to me. Rather than being in my own bubble safe from the rest of the world, I’m covered in tiny holes, porous and without clear boundaries, and like a sponge I soak it all in. When I’ve had a day with too much stimulus, I lose my sense of what’s mine and what’s yours. It’s so extreme that if I read a book or watch a TV show where something bad happens, even to a fictional character, I feel it floating just at the edge of my consciousness like a memory of a lived trauma. Let me repeat that — I embody the trauma of others, even when they aren’t real!

2. Truth: This makes service and social justice work incredibly uncomfortable. I can’t easily detach from the suffering of others, and it’s difficult for me to relax or rest when I know someone is hurting, especially if it’s something I could help or even fix. I remind myself of the conventional wisdom of putting your oxygen mask on before helping someone else with theirs, or of that saying “you don’t have to set yourself on fire in order to keep others warm,” but the discomfort doesn’t really go away.

3. Truth: And yet, I don’t shut down, I don’t give up. In fact, I actively do the opposite, continually and regularly practicing to keep my heart soft and open, stay with the discomfort, allow whatever is arising, and cultivate a sense of vulnerability, a willingness to be hurt. I purposefully practice compassion, which is nothing more than being with someone else and their pain, letting it touch you, experiencing it with them. I’d rather be uncomfortable and connected. I’d rather be of some help than none at all. I’d rather make mistakes than not even try.

One wish: May the merit of our practice ease suffering, in ourselves and the world.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Our sweet confused Christmas tree is sprouting buds, thinks it’s spring. Eric hasn’t watered it in a few days, and is planning on taking it down today, maybe even before I get home from work, but she doesn’t know that. It feels like a metaphor for something, reminds me of the way we all continue to move forward even in the face of certain death. And when it’s over for us, we become compost for the next thing that will arise. It makes me feel both so small and so expansive, both so sad and so filled with love.

2. Truth: I’m cultivating patience. If I’d picked a word for last year, that would have been the right one. It was the quality I kept coming back to, the thing that both confounded and comforted me. I had to learn to be content with how long things took, to surrender my irritation when things didn’t work out how I wanted. I’m slowly (slowly, slowly) understanding the wisdom of allowing space and time, of letting go of my agenda.

3. Truth: I have to go back to work today. In this way, in particular, I am practicing patience in the moment. I’m allowing my longing to do something different and the discipline of doing what I said I’d do to coexist. Patience is about being able to stay with what is happening, even if it’s not what I want. It helps me to maintain my effort and enthusiasm in the face of obstacles. It’s an antidote to anger, which is really just a mask for fear.

One wish: May the light of wisdom and the warmth of compassion enable patience to arise.

Three Truths and One Wish

I tried to find the origin of this image, and my best guess is it was made by this artist, Susann April

1. Truth: This year was a fallow period. Fallow is a farming term that means “plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility.” After “the election” last year, I spent time in shock, disbelief. When I came out of that, I was too distraught to concentrate, there was just so much wrong. After the dust settled a bit, I dove into educating myself, reading and taking classes, paying attention. With a fresh perspective, I suddenly was afraid to say the wrong thing, embarrassed that I’d been so ignorant, and didn’t know exactly how to make the shift from writing about my personal stuff to what’s happening in the world, or about how they might be connected. I got confused about my work, about what I had to offer. My weekly Something Good posts were easy to modify, and I could still find things to be grateful about, but everything else felt…weird, awkward.

2. Truth: I’m ready to be more present, more vocal. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to put my foot in it. I’m going to fuck up. Some people won’t like me anymore. And yet, I’m no longer going to let any of that silence me. My path is one of discovery and devotion, and after a time of contemplation and confusion, that previous truth still stands.

3. Truth: I’ve changed, and I’m more myself than ever. My world view has shifted two clicks to the left, and yet after much deliberation and effort, I find myself exactly where I was. The things that mattered to me still matter, the things I teach are still what I teach, and my mission is still exactly the same: to ease suffering, in myself and in the world.

One wish: May we remember that our worth isn’t always about our doing. May our practice and effort be about being more present and authentic, which also means being more vulnerable. May we cultivate a strong foundation of sanity and compassion in the ways that feel right to us, thus encouraging wisdom and love in others.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: I need a lot of rest. And more specifically, I need rest to recover from effort and engagement. The past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on my body and what would make it feel good. Some of that meant movement (walking the dogs, aqua aerobics, Pilates, and yoga in particular), but some of it meant visits to the doctor, getting a massage, a session with my physical therapist, three hours on the couch with a heating pad, a really long nap, or going to the Farmer’s Market to be sure I had fresh carrots and peaches.

2. Truth: I go back to work next week. To be honest (because this is a post about truth), I’m not sure how that’s going to go. I’m stepping back into a moment in the academic year that is notoriously chaotic, as well as returning to a huge ongoing project that I will need to help complete, and I have a new intern to get settled. I’m not sure how all that will align with my need for rest, my commitment to giving my body what it wants.

3. Truth: I return with a new question. It came to me recently as I was doing my morning writing practice. Forgive me if I already mentioned it, but it came to me that my fundamental confusion rests in this question — Am I denying myself what I’m truly hungry for or am I resisting what is? I’m not sure I can explain, but it’s related to my search for deep meaning in my life, and my growing awareness of my particular energetic requirements. It’s a question about the source of my discomfort, the cause of my dis-ease. So, when I dread going back to work, or I am uncomfortable being there, is it because I really should be somewhere else or am I resisting what is and therefore generating unnecessary suffering for myself in that way? Should I be looking for an exit, or should I learn how to stay?

One wish: May my path clarify my confusion, and may my confusion dawn as wisdom. (Based on the The Four Dharmas of Gampopa).

Three Truths and One Wish

1. I am my own best advocate. Time and time again, I’ve experienced situations where it’s clear I can trust myself, and if I’m looking for clarity or permission I don’t have to depend on other people to provide it. This shows up a lot around my health. Various mysteries have ultimately been understood and then healed because of the work I did, not the professionals. When they were willing to accept the easy or most common answer, even if it was wrong, it was up to me to keep looking, seeking, researching, and asking until we found a real answer.

2. Most people are making an honest effort. All beings just want to be happy and safe, even though the ways they try to make this happen are oftentimes misguided or miss the mark entirely. Even when we get things horribly wrong or cause harm, it’s ultimately because we are confused or hurt or just don’t know any better. And yet, this doesn’t mean we don’t need to take responsibility for the damage we do.

3. Believing I have value and acting like it is the best thing I can do for my health. Unless I do, all of the other products, programs, or plans are just a temporary distraction. Unless I believe I’m worth taking care of, nurturing, nourishing, and loving, nothing else I do will lead to fundamental, lasting wellness. In fact, those other things can actually do harm if I don’t first cultivate a foundation of care and compassion.

One wish: May we be happy, safe, and well, and may our confusion be nothing more than a temporary distraction.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. I have very little motivation right now. That’s not exactly true — I’m motivated to walk the dogs, go to yoga and aqua aerobics and Pilates, read books, watch TV, take naps, and hang out with Eric, write and meditate a little, and see friends, but that’s about it.

2. I’m not getting as much done as I’d hoped. I had big PLANS for all I was going to accomplish while I was on a break from work this summer, and even though I’ve gotten a few things done, it’s nowhere near what I’d imagined.

3. I needed a break. At some point when I’m not moving as fast as I want, when things aren’t happening at the speed I want, I have to accept that maybe I actually need to slow down, take a break, get some rest — and that it’s totally okay to do so.

One wish: May we allow ourselves to slow down, trust ourselves to set the rhythm of our days, and know that our value isn’t measured only by what we accomplish.