Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

My new favorite mug (check out Emily's website, she has some really great stuff)

My new favorite mug (check out Emily’s website, she has some really great stuff)

1. Truth: I can’t figure out the formula to make it all work. I never manage to accomplish everything I want to, or even need to. If I’m able to get up early, meditate, do my writing practice, walk the dogs, shower, eat breakfast, and get to work at a reasonable time, I probably didn’t floss my teeth and skipped the gym and didn’t make a lunch and arrive at my office to begin a long day of a whole list of other things I won’t get done, to add to the running list that keeps getting longer of all the things I need to do that I just can’t seem to find the energy or time for — make a vet appointment for the dogs, follow up on that question I have about my insurance, mail those books and such that have sat unwrapped in a box on the floor by my desk for months, meet with that person about my 401k, read the book for book club, balance the checkbook, schedule some maintenance on the car, get the snow tires taken off, weed the flower beds, go to a yoga class I’m not teaching, etc. I’ve tried to apply various techniques — spend less time on social media, watch less TV, get up earlier, choose three things to prioritize and make sure those get my attention before anything else — but it never seems to work. There’s still too much that needs done and not enough energy or time.

2. Truth: Instead of feeling like I’ve accomplished anything, I feel like I’m failing. It doesn’t matter what I actually get done, what I really contribute or what value I add, I can’t escape the underlying anxiety that there are other things falling apart while my attention is elsewhere. Sure I was able to keep those four plates spinning, but the other three smashed on the ground in the meantime. And in that moment of stunned awareness, in that pause of grief over my failure to do it all, one of the remaining four plates stopped spinning and crashed to the ground. Maybe I should switch to paper plates?

3. Truth: Deep down, I know that the cake is a lie. “The Cake is a Lie” is a catchphrase popularized by the game Portal, and is often used to convey the message that a promised gift is being used to motivate without any intent of delivering. I know the promise that if you just get organized, just get your shit together, you can have a happy, healthy life in which you are well-fed, rested, satisfied, content, a life in which the laundry is all done (folded and put away), you have time to cook healthy delicious food and make it to the gym and socialize with friends and do all the various maintenance required of your life, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada — is a lie. We have set the bar way too high — and yet, I keep trying.

One wish: May we, for just one moment, even just one breath, soften, relax, lower the bar, let go, and not feel guilty about it. May we forgive ourselves for not being able to live up to an impossible set of standards. May we find space in our days, rest in our nights.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: Sugar is keeping me awake this afternoon. I don’t drink coffee, I can’t stop working just now to go take a nap, and I already tried taking a short walk to snap me out of my slump, so besides walking across the hall and asking my colleague to slap me every ten minutes, sugar is my only option left. I’m eating a donut right nowOld Fashioned Sour Creme Glazed Plain from Lamar’s Donuts, and a banana, all washed down with a big glass of water. We had a celebration this morning in the main office for “National Student Employee Appreciation Day,” so there were leftover treats and I’m taking advantage, even though I know it will only buy me another hour or two before I’m dragging again.

2. Truth: We’ve got more snow on the way. Depending on which forecast you look at, it’s either going to be a couple of inches or almost a foot. It’s going to be sloppy, crappy, dreary weather for the next three days. It’s totally normal for this time of year, but I sure was hoping to work in my garden this weekend, maybe even go hiking, and my dogs (well, Ringo) are much happier when they can go out in the backyard (Sam’s just as happy on the couch).

3. Truth: Environmental factors, internal and external, are real. As many affirmations as you throw at yourself, sometimes it’s cold and wet and muddy and sometimes you are super tired and can’t think straight and that’s just the way it is. As positive as you might try to be, there are real conditions that you have to work with, work around, work through. I can’t make myself not be tired just by wishing it (or by drinking a green smoothie), and I can’t change the weather with my good attitude. Which reminds me of one of my favorite Pema Chödrön quotes, “Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not … maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine.”

One wish: That no matter what our conditions are, we relax and remember that none of it is that big of a deal, “none of us is okay and all of us are fine.”

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning, one of my favorite spots.

From our walk this morning, one of my favorite spots.

1. Truth: You know you love someone when their happiness makes you happy. In Buddhism, there’s something known as mudita, which translates to sympathetic or empathetic joy. It is one of the four immeasurables, qualities that if cultivated are said to lead to contentment. Mudita is the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being, and is the opposite of envy. I felt it today when my friend was telling me about a moment between her boyfriend and her father, experienced it when I felt so happy for her, for them, that I started to tear up.

2. Truth: To ease suffering is one of the quickest ways to feel better. It can be the suffering of another or my own that is eased, and it doesn’t have to be the big bad kind of suffering — no matter what it always does the trick to help. I was noticing it this morning with the dogs, all the times I helped — checking feet for stickers, removing a piece of stick that was caught under a harness, helping get a chunk of cookie that got stuck in one’s teeth, cleaning out eye buggers, filling the water bowl, opening a door, retrieving a toy from under the couch. Such tiny things, so mundane and constant, but such a huge part of my own well-being to try, comfort, assist, aid, serve.

3. Truth: Sometimes I’m the one who needs the most help. I’ve been working so hard lately, and my body has been in so much pain, that when I get home, all I want to do is crawl onto the couch and stay there watching TV or cuddling a dog or letting Eric tell me stories or staring at the wall until it gets dark and I can go to bed. So you know what? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing, because that’s exactly what I need.

One wish: May we all care and be cared for, comfort and be comforted, have a soft place to land and delight in each other’s well-being.

Three Truths and One Wish

marchsnowmorning1. Truth: It’s supposed to snow another 6-8 inches. Seriously, I am so over winter, so over the snow, so done with it. The only way I am hanging on right now is each time it snows, I pretend like it’s our last snow of the season. In that way, I enjoy it like I do the first snow of the season, feeling the wonder of the quiet and the light, knowing that it won’t last.

2. Truth: I am in way over my head right now. There is too much work to do, too much that needs to be managed and accomplished and done. Many times yesterday I found myself compelled to push my chair back and put my head down on my desk, taking deep breaths to calm myself down.

3. Truth: This too shall pass. The snow. The work. Any stress I feel in response to it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all impermanent — even me.

One wish: Even in the thick of the struggle, may we sense the magic.

Three Truths and One Wish

derpdogs

1. Truth: My two dogs drive me crazy and keep me sane. I know that’s a contradiction, but it’s exactly how it is. They ask for so much, need so much, and so often it isn’t convenient or easy. And yet, without them my life would seem empty, there would be too much space and it would be too quiet.

2. Truth: The fact that they don’t live very long is the most inconvenient thing about them. Facebook reminded me today that four years ago, one of my favorite dogs of all time died. Rocky was a bullmastiff that belonged to my in-laws. We met him first when he was only weeks old, and for the last half of his life, he lived here, close to us, and we spent a lot of time with him. I was lucky enough to be with him when he died. He was a big dog, 130+ pounds, and his heart was the biggest thing about him.

rocky

3. Truth: We are all impermanent, and everything changes. We can get caught up in generating a lot of suffering about this, get worked up about how unfair it all is (this is my favorite response), or we can meet change as it arises with curiosity and compassion, be as fully with our loss and our grief as we are with love and joy.

One wish: That no matter what might arise for us, whatever obstacle or gift, we meet it with an open heart.

Three Truths and One Wish

The camera on my new phone takes amazing pictures

The camera on my new phone takes amazing pictures

1. Truth: I almost forgot to write this post this week. It’s Spring Break at CSU, so I’m taking the week off from that work as much as I can, which always makes me confused about what day of the week it is. On Monday, Eric and I went to dinner at Mount Everest Cafe, one of our favorite places, and I said to him “it’s really quiet in here for a weekend” and he said, “that’s because it’s Monday.” I laughed and told him, “don’t let me forget to go teach my yoga class in the morning!” Daylight Savings time, being an hour off, meant I didn’t really know what time it was for a few days either.

2. Truth: Adulting is hard. Most days I’m pretty good at it, but yesterday I failed, miserably. I’m sad because a dear friend’s dear dog has cancer and Eric is going out of town for a conference. I’ve been depressed lately, so I was already low. Then we had a furnace guy come to do our free yearly maintenance that we haven’t had done in the fifteen years we’ve had this furnace and he, as expected, found all sorts of things wrong, things that to fix would cost almost as much as a whole new furnace, also as expected. But one of the things he found had nothing to do with the furnace — our new tub has apparently been leaking. And I’d spent the entire morning trying to back up my old phone so I could activate my new phone and in the process of that my old phone died for real and for good. I didn’t handle it very well, kind and gentle reader.

3. Truth: Still, life is good. On our walk the other day, I told Eric how good it was to feel strong again, to be able to walk without hurting the whole time. Later in the day, after my meltdown, Eric told me he’d read that my new phone’s camera had a feature where you could make little slow motion videos. I made one of him running across the dining room and it made us laugh so hard, which felt like such a relief after all the fussing that had come earlier. And I bought myself tulips and daffodils at Trader Joe’s on the way home from my physical therapy appointment yesterday, so even though it’s snowing outside this morning, I have a bit of spring inside.

One wish: That no matter how confused or turned around we get, no matter how frustrated or upset, we find our way back to sanity. May we know the relief of laughter and always keep that little bit of spring inside.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: It’s been a long winter, a long season of darkness and quiet, and it’s not over yet. That weighs heavy on me because I am feeling pretty low, could use some uplifting, some light, some bird song, and the kind of freedom that comes with spring, the reminder that seasons change and this too shall pass.

2. Truth: Walking in the morning is essential to my mental health. I took the dogs this morning by myself for the first time in a really really long time, and it was like medicine.

3. Truth: We can’t do this alone. The ways that we help each other, cheer each other up, ease each other’s suffering is what keeps us going, what makes it possible, what keeps us from giving up. This week, I told two people I love and who love me that I’m depressed, and having that soft place to land made me feel a little better.

One wish: May we remember as Ram Dass says that “we’re all just walking each other home.”