One of my favourite teachers is Darlene Cohen, who I have quoted before in my blog. And today a friend sent me the following excerpt, which has applicability to many situations in my life, and I suspect in the lives of others.
It boils down to letting go. Of course we make plans and include contingencies, hoping we have thought of everything. And then life in all of its complexity intervenes. The unexpected happens.
And when it does we can double down on attempting to control the uncontrollable or we can let go of what we wanted and expected and devote ourselves to working with the situation at hand: responsively; kindly; lovingly, creatively, and open heartedly.
Depending on the option we choose we will increase or decrease our suffering and the suffering of others in the room.
I found this excerpt from Darlene to be a good reminder that when we are in a vulnerable and emotionally laden situation, it is worthwhile to consider her words. Of course without practice we can’t turn this better response on and off, which is why we may want to work with the smaller everyday intrusions on our plans that can sometimes send us into a tizzy.Handling the “grain of sand in our shoe,” teaches us how to scale the mountains ahead, one foot after another.
Many of us tend to bombard a difficult situation with a compulsive and blind effort that buries its particulars in all the flailing about. Making much too much effort all the time in every situation is not only exhausting, but it is a way of avoiding true engagement with our lives. We’re so involved in our response, we can’t tell what’s actually going on in the situation we’re reacting to. This strategy has all the earmarks of panic. We strive and we struggle and apply ourselves utterly, which eliminates all opportunities to actually experience the often distressing hills and gullies of a demanding situation.My own experience of doing this is that it protects me from feeling my fear at not being able to handle the situation; I can’t bear to actually feel that twinge of terror that seizes my stomach, especially if the outcome is important.A big part of what you must learn if you’re to be less worried about controlling everything is how to let go of your compulsive need to feel in control. You would be better off making the effort it takes to learn when to stop making effort, when to allow things to just happen.”– Darlene Cohen
Note 1:) I am now on beautiful Gabriola Island with my Mother and the rest of my family. The weather is spectacular and everyday I awaken at sunrise to the golden sun painting a path across the water. And as the sounds of a new day emerge with the variety of bird calls; the waves lapping on the shore from the wake of a ferry; the grind of the coffee beans on the other side of the screen door and murmurings as one after another the people in the house arise and greet the day. I can only bow in all directions with gratitude.
Note 2:) My wonderful Mother has a hospital bed in the living room overlooking the ocean and the sunrise. She is so happy to be here with all of us as we are to be with her. It is amazing to see the devotion from her entire family of all ages, and the effort she puts out to be fully present with each of us. A lifetime of love and attention and good cheer.
Note 3:) Thank you for taking the time to stop by here. I am honoured by your attention to my scribbles and all the kind and encouraging notes you send. I look forward to Wednesdays no matter where I find myself. Please take care of yourselves during this time of heightened uncertainty in the world. Warmly, trudy
The bee and the blue flower photo is thanks to son, Rob. From his front yard.