Lighten Up

“Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It’s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we’re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We’re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaint.” 
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

the week is a lesson in living, i don't sleep,
eat poorly, and am way off balance. i try hard to shake the sorrow,
which envelopes me, as i follow through with some normalcy; i take my camera out,
go to the gym, and play with the dog. but life in general
is unsettling and a dullness settles in around me. 

by weeks end, i am depleted. i text a close friend
to cancel a phone date, but she is wise, nudging me, in her respectful way,
to follow through, but also giving me free rein to do what i feel is best.
my trust in her is deep, and i agree. she listens hard and with true attentiveness, 
and i soon feel my heart slow, by breath deepen and my body relax. . . 
it is the art of listening i think, being heard and valued
that is so important. it is the acknowledgment
that life is a process, that we change and along with that change
what we need out of life changes. 

later, as i digest our conversation, 
i make a list of words that i feel describe being alive: 
awake, persistent, breathing, viable, conscious, mindful,
and work. . .  
the words muddle around in my head, just out of reach, for i am not
sure how to make them a reality.

i see that within the blue sky and heat of summer, i have let things go,
things that were working. i relied on a new puppy, my gardens, and flowers in every room
to be enough. but it wasn't. i felt trapped within my own surroundings
and i was the one who locked the door.
i wanted to take flight, but instead stayed tied down, locked up tight, 
envisioning restrictions that were only my dreamt-up truths. 

i see that today i often battle the old me, with her set of needs and wants, 
with the now me, whose requirements for living fully
are different. i am not sure how to ask for what i need,
because how can i ask for something i can't quite put my finger on. 
so i start a new practice of asking myself;
"what is it you need right now?" then, pausing a bit to see what surfaces. 
and if it seems appropriate i also ask;  "is this your assumed truth, or the factual truth?"
it is a start, i think. 

“Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.”

— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” 
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

how was your week? 
xooox

cathy sly