Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going –
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
Kozan Ichikyo, Zen monk, 14th century
“Work is a mess” encourages us to first recognize that we can never have a completely neat relationship with our livelihood. Treating work’s messiness as if it were a mistake or liability only creates further unnecessary distress and resentment. By developing the attitude that work is a mess, we can learn to relax and be curious about the surprises and interruptions. By engaging the messiness of work directly — appreciating both the advantages and disadvantages — we become fully equipped to engage such events in all their variations. We have the ingenuity, good humor, and curiosity to adapt and innovate — to be victorious, no matter what the circumstances.
Passing through walls hurts human beings, they get sick from
it, but we have no choice.
It’s all one world. Now to the walls.
The walls are a part of you.
One either knows that, or one doesn’t; but it’s the same for
everyone except for small children. There aren’t any walls for them.
The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
and whispers: “I am not empty, I am open.
Tomas Tranströmer, Vermeer
Because they challenge us to the limits of our open-mindedness, difficult relationships are in many ways the most valuable for practice. The people who irritate us are the ones who inevitably blow our cover. Through them we might come to see our defenses very clearly. Shantideva explained it like this: If we wish to practice generosity and a beggar arrives, that’s good news. The beggar gives us an opportunity to learn how to give. Likewise, if we want to practice patience and unconditional loving-kindness and an enemy arrives, we are in luck. Without the ones who irritate us, we never have a chance to practice.
Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You
If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessings in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we love; rather, we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.
John O Donohue