”We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea.”
~ Pema Chodron
Oh Pema, you always know just what to say.
What if, when you were feeling sad, instead of judging yourself harshly, you just allowed the feeling to be?
What if you didn’t try to swallow it up or erase it or make it better, but sat, just like that, with your sadness?
What if you allowed your heart to keep opening, letting more and more of the sadness in, until your heart was big enough to fit the entire universe inside?
I’ve been working with this idea of holding everything—and I mean everything—in my heart.
Some days, I’m better at it than other and most days, holding this space for the people in my life—even people in the farthest corners of the world, that I’ve never met—is easier than doing it for myself.
I examine, with kind eyes (most days) the things that I like least about myself and I see more clearly the parts that I love (the parts that I want all of the world to see).
I sit, with my steaming cup of ginger tea, peering through the window at the almost-naked treetops, knowing that although the sun looks golden and warm, the moment I step outside, I will be met with a chill.
(Trust this: whether you know it or not, your heart has the capacity to hold everything, too. Find a quiet place, maybe on a cushion, in a forrest, surrounded by some trees or even down by the water; allow your heart to do the thing it was designed to do—that you were designed to do…it sounds much scarier than it is, this heart opening thing.)
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