gratitude for the pains in the arses

Where do you get stuck? Where are you hookable?

I’m alert to these questions these days. If you’ve been reading my blog here at Joy for Life, you know I’m diving into the work and teachings of Pema Chodron. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to sing her praises. The woman is da spiritual bomb. She gently, compassionately, and with a sharp sense of humour, explodes pre-conceived notions, habits, and ways of being. I love it. Challenge = growth.

Funny, though, that I only love it when I seek it. Gurmukh is coming for a 5 and a half hour exhaust-your-body blow-your-mind Kundalini workshop? I’m there. An obnoxious, loud, homeless guy on the bus? Let me off at the next stop.

Reading Pema’s got me noticing where other people get me going, make me mad, sad, afraid, or just plain exhausted–outside the yoga studio. Family (let me be clear: I have a wonderful, loving, supportive family who I give thanks for every day, but we’re normal, and they can really push my buttons), friends, strangers, shop keepers, the guy a the gas station. It can be anyone, anywhere, and, actually, I even meet them at the yoga studio. The floaty, let’s just sit and meditate while the bank account dips into the red type really drives me nuts. I should look into that.

I’m looking into everyone and figuring out what it is about them I don’t want to handle. Pema recommends thinking of those people, and describing what you don’t like about them in one word. That word will name what it is you can’t accept about yourself–what you fight inside you, too.

1. Think of the people who make you mad, sad, afraid, exhausted
2. Name what it is about them you don’t like–one word
3. Be open to the fact that this quality is probably something you can’t accept in yourself
4. Ask yourself why

Here’s one of the words that kept coming up for me when I thought back on the list of people I feel kinda infuriated by sometimes: Dependent.

I felt a mega, whole-body reaction when I realized this. Isn’t it just so ironic that Miss “I can and will take care of myself in every way–and as many other people as I can, too” is so turned off by what I consider to be dependence? It’s so easy to see it: I clearly have a hard time accepting the idea that I might need and depend on other people. I can even feel the tightness in my throat as I type that.

It’s not something I can work through instantly, not something I will immediately let go of. But just recognizing this is a part of who I am, and is likely holding me back from living my loving-compassionate life, will help me to work through it. First step: Accepting that it’s part of who I am, and every time I notice it, surrounding it with loving-kindness.

Here’s a quote from Pema’s video, below:

“If you really want liberation, you need people around to show you where it is you still have work to do.”

So great big thanks to all the infuriating people out there. I owe you gratitude for helping me grow.

Oct 15, 2010 · Comment

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