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

The weather forecast

In Ireland we love talking about the weather, especially over a Bank Holiday weekend, as if Nature should have known to provided sunshine for our few days. Sometimes it can be a way of avoiding conversations with a real connection, but it can be a way of working with something which is always changing, in a country that has four seasons in an hour.

I never read weather forecasts. As soon as I read one, tomorrow is clouded for me, even if it is sunshine that’s predicted. A part of me is making plans, or second-guessing the heavens; a part of me is saying, “I should be able to get in a second walk tomorrow, though by Sunday night it’s going to be cold again.” When it turns out different, as it often will, all my thinking is in vain. 

It isn’t that weather forecasts mess with my mind. It’s that the mind is so ready to mess with everything it touches — to make theories around it, to draw fanciful conclusions from it, to play distorting games of projection and miscalculation — that even the elements are not safe from it. It has a supreme gift, I’ve found, for complicating the simple and muddying what could and should be transparent. It can take the tiniest detail and turn it into a drama or a universe of needless speculation. Most times I dread a coming moment, the moment never comes. It’s not the world that I need to change, I see, but the mayhem that my overactive mind makes of the world.

Pico Iyer, The Folly of the Weather Forecast

 

Metaphors to live by

Spring is a metaphor for transitions. It moves from lifelessness to life and we move from lifelessness to life in each cycle of breathing. If we know change is going to occur we are in a better place to accept it. If we expect things to stay constant we are vulnerable to frustration, disappointment, and resistance.

Spring is also a metaphor for forgiveness. Whatever happened in the last season, life begins anew with no carryover resentment from the past. Spring reminds us, as Pema Chodron says, to start where we are.

Spring shows us the cycle of living and dying on a bigger scale do. Everything comes into being and goes out of being — changing its form.  Spring invites us not to become attached to things, even the most precious things in our life. The invitation is to love things wholeheartedly with the awareness that they will not be with us forever. And, indeed, we, ourselves, will not be here forever. The invitation is to not be afraid to grieve when that grief becomes necessary. Grief is, at times, the admission price to the present moment.

So welcome spring and your multifaceted metaphors for mindful living!

Arnie Kozak, on Beliefnet

This day (this month) contains all

Drink your tea slowly and reverently,

as if it as the axis on which the world revolves

Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen teaches that our approach to today determines our whole approach to life.

The Japanese call this attitude Ichi-nichi issho:

‘Each day is a lifetime.’

Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen 24/7

Sunday Quote: We do not always need to know what is happening

File:IMG 2403 - Washington DC - Tidal Basin - Cherry Blossoms.JPG

Another quote on accepting that there are reasons we cannot see and that we do not always have to be in control.

Prompted by the swallows returning yesterday : 

Break open the cherry tree:

But where are the blossoms?

Wait for spring time and see how they bloom!

Ikkyu, Zen Buddhist monk and poet, 1394 – 1481

photo andrew bossi

Radiate joy

This is the primary…affirmation within all of Scripture…
To believe that we and our world are good, very good; 

to take delight in our lives and in each other; 

 to live lives that radiate joy rather than depression, boredom, and resentment;

well … that sounds simple and easy, but remains a rare thing that’s seldom accomplished.

The most important challenge that all of us face in life is to….bless rather than to curse!

Ron Rolheiser, Blessing and Cursing Life