Take heart, all of it is temporary. All of it.

Via on Jul 10, 2012

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There was a Thai monk named Ajahn Chah

His students noticed that despite his own teachings about impermanence and non-attachment, he had a drinking glass he was particularly fond of.

“Someone asked Ajahn Chah something like, ‘You’ve been teaching us about impermanence and how everything is constantly changing. You’ve told us that being attached to anything in this transient world will always cause us to suffer. Yet it appears that even you, who has renounced all worldly possessions, have become attached to that special drinking glass.’

Ajahn Chah replied with something like, ‘It is true, I do enjoy this drinking glass. I like the way it holds my tea. I admire the way the sun shines off it, at times creating tiny rainbows. This is my favorite glass, but I do not cling to it, because to me this glass is already broken. I know that my time with it is temporary and precious. So I enjoy this glass while it lasts, but I am fully aware that eventually it will fall from the shelf or be knocked over and shatter. And when that happens I will say ‘of course.’” (Noah Levine for Shambhala Sun)


I remember reading this story a few years ago, after my daughter was born. When we’re in the midst of those amazing golden moments we can’t think about impermanence. We don’t want to. We want all of the good to last forever.

I remember reading it again, later, discouraged, frustrated with something. Sometimes impermanence lasts too long for us. I hate this moment. Take it away. I’m done with it.

And the good news all around is that nothing lasts.

Our most cherished glass is already broken. It’s inevitable.

This isn’t some nihilistic, “don’t care” “don’t love” mindset, but instead the opposite.

Whether right now is exquisitely beautiful, excruciatingly painful or somewhere in the wonderful cool boredom in between, it’s precious because it’s now. It’s precious because one deep breath…and it’s gone.

Don’t worry. It’s been a long day. It’s been a good, hard day. Tomorrow is a new one.

{Thanks to Molly for reminding me of this story today.}


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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter


11 Responses to “Take heart, all of it is temporary. All of it.”

  1. karlsaliter says:

    I loved it. " Sometimes impermanence lasts too long for us." was a definite first for me. Rock on, kale lover!

  2. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Lovely, thank you – hit the spot on this dark and heavy morning.

  3. Eric says:

    thanks for my new mantra: “don’t care, don’t love”


  4. […] going to happen or when—nothing is predictable, permanent, secure, controllable or dependable. Everything is subject to change in every moment. Just imagine if everything was permanent. Imagine if we were always the same: […]

  5. […] that everything is impermanent and that life is not static but constantly changing.[17] Through the observation of impermanence, one found the idea of non-self; that, within the one, lay all of the conditions that gave rise to […]

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