Tag Archives: Steve Jobs

Day of Rest

In my studies of Buddhism, I am constantly reminded that everything is the path. Good, bad, and indifferent, spiritual or secular, there is an opportunity to learn, to practice. No matter what comes, no matter what is, the instruction is to open to it, surrender to the moment, connect with the reality of experience.

Of course, when things are bad, this is harder to do. When someone you love is dying, and then when they are finally gone, it’s hard to stay present, open to the pain, to face the reality that they are gone. The amazing Amy McCracken said it best, when she talked about sweet Alyssa Doane’s memorial service,

Alyssa was buried this morning.
Despite all of the pretty flowers
and hundreds of messages
of love and support and the promise
that she was no longer suffering
and already dancing in heaven,
seeing Floppy in her casket and her mom at the grave site
made me want to go home and sleep for the rest of my life.

I cry every time I read that, for Amy, for Alyssa, for Alyssa’s mom, for everyone who loved Alyssa, for me and for everyone who’s ever lost someone they love, for the fact that so many of us can read what Amy wrote and even if we don’t know her or Alyssa, we know just what that feels like.

I’ve been reading Pema Chödrön’s book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, trying to understand how to do just that, live with uncertainty and change, with the promise of impermanence and mortality. Pema shares a quote from Steve Jobs that is helpful,

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No reason not to keep your heart open, let it all in. We all bought tickets for a airplane ride where the guaranteed ending is not a wonderful vacation but rather a fiery crash in which we are all going to die, we are taking a ride on a boat guaranteed to sink — this is the deal. I know this intellectually, and yet my heart keeps getting broken by it, I still want to “go home and sleep for the rest of my life.” I try to be curious, open, gentle, but I fail.

Pema says,

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen, so today I’m trying to make a little room, create some space, allow breath to be breath, love to be love, grief to be grief — allowing it all to just be.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: You can’t do everything. For starters, you have a body that has real limits, edges and absolutes, a soft animal form that needs breaks for rest, nourishment, and maintenance. Your mind cannot insist this frame, this figure, this shape do more than it can do–that only invites illness and collapse. Your mind needs breaks too, to revive it’s creative energy, to day dream and play, to get quiet and still, even though it doesn’t like to admit it. And your heart, bless your heart–it will let you break it over and over again with your bullying and demands, it will forgive you for each and every abandonment, but the unhealed grief that comes from that process will one day knock you flat.

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~Steve Jobs

2. Truth: It’s okay to stop, to rest, to say no. In fact, it’s more than okay–it’s essential. The good work you imagine, the love you long to manifest, will never be fully realized unless you take care of yourself, stop smashing yourself to bits. You will shred yourself, turn to ashes if you don’t lie down and let go, calm down, slow down, surrender.

The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode. ~Anne Lamott

3. Truth: Enough. It’s enough. There is enough. You are enough. You are doing the best you can, can’t do or be any more than that. Even if you never do another thing, it’s enough. You are already light, you are already wise and kind, you are already loved. You are. There’s no test, no goal, no should or have to, no destination other than here–there is only breath, and only this moment. You are medicine, magic, love manifested, precious and brilliant.

We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. ~Anne Lamott

One wish: That we can all slow down, stop pushing so hard and insisting on so much, and that we, once and for all, finally know that we are enough, already and exactly as we are.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
~Shel Silverstein