Forgiving our life


A lot of us find it hard to extend real kindness towards ourselves. Our default position is that we are much more critical of ourselves – and how our life history has developed – than we are of others. 

And if we forgive life for not being what we told it to be, or expected, or wished, or longed for it to be,

we forgive ourselves for not being what we might have been also.

And then we can be what we are, which is boundless

John Tarrant, The Zenosaurus Course in Koans

Another week begins: it doesn’t have to be perfect

Sometimes Monday mornings can be a challenge, and what is not going right comes to mind more easily, as we start back into work after a relaxed and sunny Sunday.  So we remind ourselves that  one does not have to be completely satisfied with everything before one can be content. Similarly, everything does not have to be just as you would like it in your life for you to be grateful.

Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have.

Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape

The wilderness constantly reminds me that wholeness is not about perfection….

I have been astonished to see how nature uses devastation to stimulate new growth, slowly but persistently healing her own wounds. Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness – mine, yours, ours – need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.

Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

Sometimes an empty space is the best response

Sometimes peoples words and actions can agitate and upset us.

We wish to react or maybe get fearful and withdraw.

However, sometimes doing nothing, not reacting or rushing to a definitive judgment, can be the wisest course.

Hold a space. Emptiness and form. Non-doing and doing.

Thirty spokes meet in the hub.
But its where the wheel isn’t
is where it’s useful.

Hollowed out, the clay makes a pot.
Where the clay is not
is where it’s useful.

Cut doors and windows to make a room.
Where the room is not,
there is room for you.

So something is shaped into what is;
but its usefulness comes from what is not.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

A spirit of adventure

Not a bad attitude to have as we start the day, seeing moments – even difficult ones – as “adventures” .

Wish that your journey be a long one, 

full of adventures, full of knowing.

(Vα εύχεσαι να είναι μακρύς ο δρόμος, γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις)

Cavafy’s advice to Odysseus before he set out on his voyage back to Ithaca

Light which gives meaning

When you possess light within, you see it externally.     

Anais Nin

Today is the Summer Solstice, the northern hemisphere’s longest day –  the official start of Summer  – when the longer days of sunlight follow. Unusually for Ireland we are actually forecast a day of very warm sunshine. Traditionally,  cultures knew the significance of this date and marked it by the lighting of bonfires. It reminds us that we are at a midpoint of the year, which hints at every midpoint on a journey.  Life is short and there are many challenges each day.  However, we choose how to use time, bringing the light of beauty to each moment, long or short

We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender.

Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible.

Awakening and surrender: they  frame each day and each life; between them the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty.

John O’Donohue.
photo SK

What to do in a storm of emotions

Sometimes unexpected winds blow. It is best to find strength within oneself at moments like this:

You too are a tree. During a storm of emotions, you should not stay at the level of the head or the heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Your trunk is one centimeter below your navel. Focus there, paying attention only to the movement of your abdomen, and continue to breathe.

Thích Nhat Hạnh