Tag Archives: Maitri

Three Truths and One Wish

The theme of last week’s A Year With Myself (AYWM) was “In Love With Me: Getting Good at Self-Love and Self-Acceptance.” I had a rough time of it. I was in this place, deep and old and sticky, where I could see, was aware, but couldn’t seem to move. It felt like I was stuck in cement. I felt broken and hopeless. “All this work, all this time, and I am still here?”

As I have mentioned before, I realized last year that I was in a long term abusive relationship–with myself. I had lost Kelly and Obi to cancer, was reeling from a longstanding abusive work situation, and dealing with some difficult family situations. I was carrying around so much grief, carried it into the year that followed. I couldn’t seem to let go, to process everything that had happened. I was a ghost, broken down the middle. And, like Jackie Walker said in AYWM Chapter Four, “The boat was safe, and it floated. The fact that it was uncomfortable, and going in the wrong direction didn’t matter, until it did.” What I knew was that I had to save myself. So, not knowing exactly how, I started.

Since that realization, I have been trying to be a better friend to myself, to even love myself, to learn how to do these things. But, 30+ years of habitual patterns, ways of being is really hard to shift. Maybe the worst of it is I generate even more suffering by punishing myself, criticizing the fact that I am smashing myself to bits–I beat myself up for not getting there yet, then beat myself up for beating myself up. It is utterly ridiculous.

As I try, struggle, fuss, collapse, get back up, and let go, I practice patience, love, forgiveness, kindness. I am unlearning self-hate and relearning self-love. I am figuring out how to care for myself, really care and not just feed my neurosis, fuel my dis-ease. I am creeping, crawling my way towards the truth, one small step at a time, sometimes on broken hearted knees.

Brave Belly

1. Truth: Your relationship with yourself is the only one that will last your whole life. It is the only one you can trust will remain. Everything, everyone else will at some point leave, be lost, or let go. Our relationship with our self, that partnership with our one true soulmate, is the only constant. Everything else is external, apart in a way that makes it transient and impermanent. All the other people, places, things, (even our own body), will eventually leave us, fail us, even if they don’t want to, even if they desire and try to stay. But You, you can count on her. She will never leave you, and if you would only let her, she will always love you.

:: Something to read:It’s You” from Tiny Buddha.

2. Truth: No one can ever give you all that you can give yourself. As Daniel Collinsworth explained to me, “be the source of what you need, let it come from that central still point. When you feel that restless searching bubbling up, stay with it — let it show you where that healing and restoration is needed.  The rest is a journey that unfolds in time, not always easy, but so worth it.” Remain kind, gentle, patient, mindful, and aware. Relax and trust your own intuition, your own voice, your understanding of what you need and who you are. That self, You, can be trusted. She is faithful and committed, and if you would only let her, she will always love you.

:: Something to read:The Great Lesson of Loneliness” by Daniel Collinsworth on Metta Drum.

3. Truth: The best you have to offer, the best you can be is exactly who you already are. You have nothing better to give. Who you become for others or who you trick yourself into believing you are can only ever be a deluded, weakened, watered down version of your true nature, your essence, your power.

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 ChödrönStart Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

One wish: Easily and naturally arising self-love and self-care in our lives. “If we are doing our true work and living authentically, it will be with ease, naturalness,” (Gwyn-Michael on Scoutie Girl, “Returning to Self and Life’s Simple Pleasures“). My wish is that we unlearn all the bad habits, the ways of being that no longer serve us, and we learn to love our self, be our self wholeheartedly and completely, always.  And that we remember if you would only let her, she will always love you.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from jamie's post

What do you wish for your health & wellness?

I don’t know if anyone else doing Wishcasting with Jamie feels this way, but it’s like she’s gotten inside my head, read my journals, or followed me around for the past week to determine the exact question to ask–the very thing that I need to clarify, get clear about, wish and claim for myself.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri.

:: Balance: I’ve written about this before, my ongoing effort to find a middle path, the middle way when it comes to my health and wellness. Instead of taking the middle path to begin with, I tend to practice one extreme (e.g. eat a huge bowl of Marshmallow Mateys when that’s not even what I’m really hungry for), freak out because I’ve gone too far, and in an attempt to balance that excess, go just as far in the opposite direction (e.g. restrict what I eat the next day or work out too hard). I practice too tight (e.g. write for 10 hours straight) and then too loose (e.g. spend five hours on the couch watching TV because I’m too tired to read or think), tricking myself into believing they even each other out.

This doesn’t work for me anymore, (if it ever did). It’s like Sisyphus with his boulder, pushing it up a hill only to have it roll right back down. I am stuck in this loop, this push and pull, the falling down. I had been thinking specifically this morning about the 20 pounds that I have gained and lost, over and over, for the past 20 years. I weighed myself yesterday, knowing I wasn’t going to like it, but it was worse than I expected, and made me feel bad, and then I felt doubly bad that I wasn’t evolved enough to love myself no matter what the number, to not care about the number, to just throw away the stupid scale already.

To find balance, I need less food, weight, pain, suffering, secrecy, shame, self-loathing, self-criticism, clinging, attachment, and more ease, space, light, love, joy, rest, grace, strength, bravery, and self-care. I’d like to even out, start from the middle, the stillness and wisdom and kindness of my center. Balance.

:: Rest: I was talking to a friend the other day about this, and in explaining it to her, I had a realization: the comfort I get eating too much or eating food that doesn’t support my desire for more health, is numbness. I knew that already, but what I hadn’t realized is that my desire to dull, check out, be numb is because there’s all this stuff I want to do, writing and practicing and studying and living, and I don’t want to stop, don’t want to waste any more time, so I go until I am so exhausted, I have nothing left.

Unless I am asleep or sick, it is really difficult for me to accept stopping, resting. The only way to turn off my desire to keep going, the guilt about resting, the shame about wasting time, is to numb out, and food is the way I have learned to do this. What I need to do instead is give myself permission to stop, to rest. I need to embody the understanding that I need to pace myself, that I have to restore and regenerate, I need to eat for nourishment, I need to get enough sleep, I need energy to do the great work I hope to do, and it won’t come if I keep smashing myself to bits.

:: Maitri: As I have always heard it defined, this is “cultivating unconditional friendliness,” (also simply loving-kindness, friendliness, friendship) to oneself in particular, because as we’ve heard time and time again: without self-love, you don’t understand how to truly love anyone else. My only resolution last year was to “be a better friend to myself,” and it was a good start, but I still have a long way to go. So many of my issues with health and wellness center around learning to love and care for myself.

I did a Q-Cast this morning, asked the question “Is there a way to do this lovingly, cut back and let go of some weight, get healthier without it being punishment?” The cards I pulled where “cut ties” and “jackpot.” Which means to me that the trick is cutting ties with the comfort of overeating, the numbness, find balance and learn to rest.

I need to cut ties with swinging between extremes and find balance. I need to cut ties with pushing myself so hard and learn to rest. I need to break up with this self-hate like it’s an abusive boyfriend, quit it like the worst job ever, move away from it like a bad neighborhood, throw it out like a pair of socks that have holes, toss it in the garbage like spoiled food, abandon it like a car that won’t start, replace it like a roof that leaks, trash it like a pen out of ink.

Yesterday, Ingrid Michaelson released her new album, “Human Again.” I’ve been listening to it all day. This song “Ghost” makes me think about how terribly I’ve been treating myself for so long, how that made me feel. I made my true self a ghost, invisible and unloved. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s not working.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri.