It’s all medicine.
Each moment provides its unique offering.
I want to inspire. To inhale. To breathe in life, presence, peace.
Inspiration, in the form of creative inspiration, the itch to write, paint, draw, sketch, sculpt, sing, dance, play—to create—comes and goes. Wouldn’t it be too exhausting if we were constantly inspired? Constant happiness and pleasure and perfection, building a soft nest around ourselves to ensure this, only leads to immaturity and stagnation.
Life consists of blacks, whites, grays, and the whole spectrum of colors. Life consists of inhales and exhales. Of times of inspiration, productivity, expression, creation, and times of rest, rejuvenation, retreat, and hibernation.
Life without problems would be boring and would inhibit growth. Yet, most Westerners in the middle class or above, have been culturally conditioned to avoid problems, to kill pain. A vast array of pills for countless ailments are available to kill pains of all kinds. Entire industries have been built around our aversion to pain—military-industrial, pharmaceutical, medical, insurance, and retail, to name a few.
What would allowing our pain to be here look like?
What would changing our relationship with pain sound like?
What would embracing and accepting our pain taste like?
What would sitting with, inviting in, and, eventually, truly letting go of the pain feel like?
For me, it has taken years of gradual unfolding, and I trust that the peeling back of countless onion skins is the work of many lifetimes to come.
I have let go of the little blue pills that were prescribed to stave off depression until the day I die. Let go of the lithium that was meant to keep my bipolar brain balanced. Let go of the listening to the media, speaking words of self-hate toward my body, my belly. I have let go of caring what I do on the weekends. Let go of buying processed food, which shouldn’t even be called food. I still have a lot more to let go of on this path.
My current commute, two or three days a week, involves walking along a mountain path and taking a swift boat ride across a sparkling blue lake, with three wise volcanoes looming on her southern and western shores. The rest of the days, I work from home. My work involves yoga, writing, teaching, translation, communicating, and listening.
I retain some escapes, of course; I’m no guru. I’m not sitting here feeling it all, all the time. Yet more and more of the time, I am. I allow the anger to surface, the tears of sadness, the giggles, the joy. The boredom, the worry, the excitement. The more space I give, the more I allow them to arise and pass away, the more quickly they do so.
Physical pain, too, must be accepted. The aches and pains of growing, of aging, are real. The bruises from a stumble on a rocky path must be given time to heal. If we can just keep moving, however slowly, this is key. Keep walking. Keep swimming. Keep wading. Keep squishy sand or soft blades of grass or warm brown dirt between your toes.
The peace revolution that we each individually and collectively need, and that our Mother Earth so desperately needs, is a revolution that begins within. In stillness, in silence, in listening, in breathing, in accepting, in holding, in releasing. In finding inner peace, we are empowered to give our lives to service, to the benefit of others, to the highest benefit of all beings without exception.
Om Mani Padme Hum
May the lotus blossom at our heart continue to bloom and flower.