Pema Chodron has been my faithful companion throughout this entire journey, she’s with me always reminding me of the lessons I have yet to learn in this life time, gentle reminders. Some days it just resonates and brings everything into perspective, today was one of those days.
She writes …
My teacher Trungpa Rinpoche said, “whatever occurs in the confused mind is regarded as our path. Everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation, the lion’s roar.” If we find ourselves in what seems like a rotten or painful situation and we think, “Well, how is this enlightenment? we can just remember this notion of the path, that what seems undesirable in our lives doesn’t have to put us to sleep. What seems undesireable in our lives doesn’t have to trigger habitual reactions. We can let it show us where we’re at and let it remind us that the teachings encourage precision, gentleness, with loving kindness toward every moment.
When we live this way, we feel frequently – maybe continuously at a crossroads, never knowing what’s ahead.
It’s an insecure way to live. We often find ourselves in the middle of a dilemma what should I do about the fact that somebody is angry with me? What should I do about the fact that I’m angry with somebody? Basically, the instruction is not to try to solve the problem but instead to use it as a question about how to let this very situation wake us up further rather than lull us into ignorance. We can use a difficult situation to encourages ourselves to take a leap, to step out into that ambiguity. Pema Chodron
I have been ruminating on a difficulty in one of my relationships, witnessing myself going back into habitual, responsive behaviour and trying desperately to figure it out, fix it taking responsibility for this person’s unhappiness, anger and frustration.
I am an INFJ. INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.
I am an Emotional Introvert. Emotional Introverts most defining characteristics are sensitive, melancholic and a perfectionist. (recovering in my case)
Very emotional, caring and dedicated person believing that there is a bigger picture in life, one that we can’t really see, but we can feel it.
You are very compassionate, strong minded, and devoted to your beliefs.
Although you tend to get melancholic, your ability to empathize for others is a true gift and you possess a sort of kindness that is rare.
I am a Pita/Vata. The Vata–Pitta constitutional type combines both Vata and Pitta doshas. Vata dosha is made up of the air + ether elements while Pitta dosha is made up of the fire + water elements. The attributes of Vata are light, cool, dry, and mobile. The characteristics of Pitta dosha are hot, sharp, mobile, and penetrating.
I have had the opportunity to watch myself and this new dilemma
unfold, a very important person in my life, I would consider one of my best friends suddenly took exit. Before I left we spoke and hung out daily for months up to my departure. She was one of the two people I consulted before making this decision, a lot riding upon this notion that I was responsible for her. She assured me that it was absolutely not my responsibility to be or feel responsible for her we were both responsible for our own lives.
A noticeable void in communication. Confusion. Upon learning this person was swimming in depression, standing at her doorstep, knocking. Offering support and continuing to reach out until just asking if there was a reason communication has been sparse, I shared the importance of our relationship and the maintenance of it, I let her know how much it meant to me for us to be in communication. Letting down her guard and opening her vulnerability, she shared that she was upset with me, angry and frustrated because of so many things … so many broken promises. Immediately my mind starts spinning, what could I have done (such an INFJ trait, blame yourself first), I think back trying to remember if there was something I promised that I didn’t through on.
“whatever occurs in the confused mind is regarded as our path. Everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation, the lion’s roar.”
If we find ourselves in what seems like a rotten or painful situation and we think, “Well, how is this enlightenment? we can just remember this notion of the path, that what seems undesirable in our lives doesn’t have to put us to sleep. What seems undesireable in our lives doesn’t have to trigger habitual reactions.
This is right where I was sat, ruminating, anxiety, worry, a will to fix it, a need for understanding.
I needed a clear piece of communication and I got it. My first reaction was disappointment, I had hoped we would be in constant contact and very much in each others lives. I had hoped she would be my Gillian as I skipped around the world, every Skipper needs a Gilligan.
Habitual spinning it around in my head trying to come to a expeditious conclusion by talking about it like we always do. I think its more painful not really knowing, at least with knowing I have something to work with; something to use to find a resolution, leaving everything to speculation can cause a whole host of other problems, story making, assumptions, expectations, entitlement. A good time to check in with expectations, entitlement, integrity, and values.
Noticing my reaction, my feelings, my habitual responses I went back to the teachings, not responsible for anyone else’s feelings, each person is 100% responsible for their own feelings (period).
I was losing traction on this important piece of information, Pema so brilliantly reminded me to step out, look in, deliver self compassion, love and understanding, witness, allow and finally, let go.
A gentle reminder to come back to this moment, recognizing that I have no control, that I am not responsible for anyone else’s feelings no matter what they are – joy, happiness, love, anger, resentment, jealousy, hate – we choose each and every one of them, every time. It is my job to notice how I feel and allow those feeling in, process them, and let them out or let them stay awhile till I’m ready to open that door. To release this thought of having any control, a challenge I struggled with for days – falling into the conditioned rut and slowly, sometimes sloth like, meandering back over into the newly conditioned crack that lay so close.
Reminds me of stepping in a pile of dense, deep, sinking mud and you are the witness of yourself, you see you have time to get out watching yourself in slow motion lifting that boot out of the thick, damp, sinking mud and setting it down somewhere else a little more solid, a shifting into the newly created rut and a stepping out of past conditioning. Not an easy task, one that takes patience, trust, compassion and understanding of and for yourself, after many repeated attempts, you continue doing the best you can with a little more awareness.
We can let it show us where we’re at and let it remind us that the teachings encourage precision and gentleness, with loving kindness toward every moment.
Living in the past or the future causes anxiety and depression; home is in the present moment which becomes a place to witness habitual patterns of behaviour and family of origin reactions.
If you have been doing inner work for some time, a visit with your family is an excellent opportunity to discover how well you have done.
Gentle reminders from the people I love reminding me to use my toolbox. Settling on my side of the street and sorting through my own garbage, I pondered the learning in all of this. For me, simply another chance to practice what I preach, another time to do it differently, another opportunity to let go of perceived responsibility, control and rescuing, and another opportunity to invite in those feelings, sit with them and eventually let them go.
Coming back to myself and the present moment allowing gratitude for all those people I do have around me. Never far away, I will never let her go.
Basically, the instruction is not to try to solve the problem but instead to use it as a question about how to let this very situation wake us up further rather than lull us into ignorance.
Today was one of those days …