I talk about Pema Chodron so much on the blog that I thought you might like to see her sweet face!
When will we move from loathing to love? Like everything else, when we get sick and tired of it.
Let’s do it now, because it’s literally that simple. Decide. And then act.
Pema says that all addiction stems from the place where we meet our edge and just can’t stand it. Healing is the warrior’s journey. And it’s not necessarily what you might think…picking up a sword (or an AK-47) and doing physical battle. The minute we draw a line in the sand and say, enough is enough, I’m not running (from myself, my feelings, my past or others) we can immediately start having a different experience. It’s hard to say that, isn’t it? Especially I think, when we’re new, and we have a lot in the closet. Not to run means opening that door and facing whatever might be on the other side of it. annihilation! But of course, how else can we find what is indestructible within us?
Physical sobriety is the beginning of healing, because it is the place from which our frozen insides can thaw. The good news about sobriety is that you get your feelings back. The bad news about sobriety is that you get your feelings back. And you’re going to feel a lot of things. Actually, it’s all good news. Because as Pema says:
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear…are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck.”
If you go to the (metaphorical) closet and pull out that piece of yesterday (regret, sadness, loneliness, hate, anger, fear, confusion) and you can put it in front of you on the floor and sit there with it, even if you sit there for 17 seconds before you stuff it back in the closet, that is the journey. If you practice each day this way, the 17 seconds will become a minute, will become 7 minutes…and so on. What is the point of looking at it there on the floor?
The point is to observe it (yourself and others) without judgement. There is no fixing required–I find that a tremendous relief! Things aren’t fixed. They are coming together. They are falling apart. That is life. Karma is not some retribution where something terrible happens to you and you’ve somehow paid off a debt from your past sins. Karma is the steady rhythm of the universe that keeps bringing you the experiences you need in order to grow (and heal!) Sit. Stay. Heal.