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Our world is wounded right now.
And as a woman on a healing journey from chronic illness, I know how stretched, tired, afraid, and sometimes full of despair these times can make us feel.
In these past few extraordinary months and weeks, so little is certain. And so much is being brought to the surface for personal and collective healing.
I’ve found three key practices to be of invaluable support and sustenance on my path each day, and I’d love to share them with you.
For so many of us, these times feel incredibly tough. Along with not knowing how our world will look next week, next month, or next year, there’s a new level of busy-ness for parents with children at home, who are also trying to hold down jobs to keep a stream of income. For others, the emptiness of these days yawns wide with the disruption to routine and the medicine of social gatherings bringing challenges to well-being.
When things feel tough, always we are gifted with an opportunity to reframe our response to it.
First, we invite ourselves to move into acceptance. We make a choice to stop resisting what feels like difficult circumstances.
As we do that, the weight of what we are carrying slides away, even if only for a few minutes, and we can again feel our true, limitless nature and the still centre that is always there, beneath the ebb and flow of life. This touching-in to our true nature sustains us and nourishes us, taking us out of our small selves so we can breathe more deeply, and live each moment more fully.
Love in Action
When I transitioned from being a participant in wellness retreats to running them, I became so busy that I wasn’t able to be in the temple as much. I longed to simply sit on my cushion in meditation again and absorb the teachings.
When we lose the thread of the practices that nourish and rebalance us at a deep level, we must remember that we are still on a healing journey whose form has just shifted to help us find that thread again. Our healing journey may be in an activity phase, where we have the opportunity to witness ourselves as we go about the busy-ness of daily life.
Inhabiting that position, of a mindful observer of ourselves in action, we can release ourselves into our days with grace, and hold a healing intention throughout all we do. The gift of this medicine remains available, no matter how busy we are or how disconnected we may feel in the absence of our usual spaces where we go to reconnect, to meet, and to receive nourishment from others.
Receive the Fullness
Coming back to my time as a retreat leader, I recall sitting at dinner one day, hungry to receive the spiritual nourishment my friends had been receiving all day. I shared the gems I had gleaned from the day from moments of passing by and hearing a few sentences, and my friends shared what they had received.
What blew my mind was that we had all received the fullness of the teachings!
On hearing what I had taken in, my friend told me, “In a full day of teachings, there are generally only two or three jewels I really remember and take in—and you have also received that.”
My teacher, Garchen Rinpoche, once said: “If we could meditate on the nature of mind for just five minutes every hour, we could attain enlightenment.”
What that taught me was whether we have hours a day to practice, or just moments in between busy-ness, if we cultivate an intention to awaken, to drink deeply of what it is that life is teaching us in each moment, how much time we have ceases to matter.
This is a moment to be cultivating deep presence, to be finding the ways in which we can nourish and replenish ourselves as we move through the day, connecting with tools that balance, regulate, settle, soothe, nourish, enliven, and inspire our system.