So. This was me, last week, in the midst of a particularly busy time when I was overbooked to the gills and had not been in integrity enough with myself to get still and present for a few days in a row. Me, out of integrity and going into fantasy land, which sounded something like this:
“If I didn’t have to do all of this stuff, if I didn’t have all of this on my plate–why, I’d sit and meditate all day long. I’d read more Pema Chodron and really study her work, in detail. I wish I had time to take that class at the local community college on Buddhist philosophy. I’d have tea with friends more. I’d learn Italian fluently, finally. And run! I’d run four days a week instead of three! And take naps. Everything would be calmer if X wasn’t running her mouth and causing problems. And I’m so sick of Y blaming me for his crap–he needs to start taking responsibility for his own time management and stop making excuses. You know, I really want to re-do my studio, making it more meditation like. I could paint it a different color and get some comfy chairs, maybe go for a more Mediterranean feel. And an altar! I’d make a new spiritual altar, and only keep my spiritual books in here…”
When we get out of integrity with ourselves,essential wisdom can fall away. The stuff we “know” becomes the goodness that we “forget” and then need to remember and re-remember.
So at the end of this long week, when Friday had hit and I had the relief of knowing that I had absolutely nothing scheduled on my plate for Saturday, I crawled into bed to read a bit and get drowsy, which is my habit, and I was re-reading The Wisdom of No Escape for the bazillionth time when I read this:
“You have a certain life, and whatever life you’re in is a vehicle for waking up.” –Pema Chodron
In an instant, I realized:
I don’t need to fantasize about spending all day meditating. I need to get present to this ‘certain life.’
I don’t need to become a Pema Chodron scholar. I just need this one line.
I don’t need to do any of the ‘stuff’ that I was running a Story about, that Story being that if I were doing the stuff life would somehow be better. Life, now, is so divinely fantastic, even with X who runs her mouth and stirs people up to cause trouble, and Y who thinks it’s all my fault that he can’t get things in on time.
X and Y are my calls for waking up.
The busy schedule is my call for waking up.
The “problems” are my calls to wake up.
I don’t need a redecorated studio–I just need to get present to my life, and see what can be done this day to wake up just a little bit more, and a little bit more, and then the next day a little bit more–and try to keep my heart open along the way and not let it close in the face of waking up to that which can feel bigger or scarier (as waking up can often feel).
I know that sometimes when I read someone talking like this, my inner critic/resistance jumps in to tell me how lah-dee-freaking-dah, it might sound all esoteric and pretty for them, but that doesn’t apply to my life–I need answers for my life, my complicated problems. What do they know?
(P.S. This is why courage is a practice, not a final event–why living big is a practice, not an arrival destination. You, me, everyone else–we practice living our visions for our lives, and get hipper and wiser around noticing when we have stopped the practice.)
But in this moment, right now, anyone reading this can “re-remember” their essential wisdom–that every single problem you are faced with can be the thing that you reframe as the thing that is waking you up. You can be woken up to that which you do not like–and then wake up to why you don’t like it–and then wake up to what choices you’ve made to put that thing in your life–and then wake up to the choices you have around that thing–and then wake up to which choices serve you best–and…
…there’s so much waking up to do. And really, so little time. What are you waiting for?