If we think only of ourselves, forget about other people, then our minds occupy very small area. Inside that small area, even tiny problem appears very big. But the moment you develop a sense of concern for others, you realize that, just like ourselves, they also want happiness; they also want satisfaction. When you have this sense of concern, your mind automatically widens. At this point, your own problems, even big problems, will not be so significant. The result? Big increase in peace of mind. So, if you think only of yourself, only your own happiness, the result is actually less happiness. You get more anxiety, more fear.
~Dalai Lama XIV, The Wisdom of Forgiveness
The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
~William Arthur Ward
Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued…Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
pathwriter’s note: Liz Gilbert hits the nail on the head again and again, whether she’s sharing her own thoughts or the thoughts of others. This is her Facebook post from yesterday (12/1/14).
THE CRAB BUCKET
Dear Ones –
A few months ago, I was on stage with Rob Bell — minister, teacher, family man, great guy — and a woman in the audience asked him this question:
“I’m making all these important changes in my life, and I’m growing in so many new and exciting ways, but my family is resisting me, and I feel like their resistance is holding me back. They seem threatened by my evolution as a person, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
Rob said, “Well, of course they’re threatened by your evolution as a person. You’re disrupting their entire world view. Remember that a family is basically just a big crab bucket — whenever one of the crabs climbs out and tries to escape, the other crabs will grab hold of him and pull him back down.”
Which I thought was a VERY unexpected comment to come from a minister and a family man!
Rob surprised me even more, though, as he went on to say, “Families are institutions — just like a church, just like the army, just like a government. Their sense of their own stability depends upon keeping people in their correct place. Even if that stability is based on dysfunction or oppression. When you move out of your ‘correct place’ you threaten their sense of order, and they may very likely try to pull you back down.” Continue reading
I can’t remember exactly when I first bought and hung a crystal prism in a sunny window, but I know the first time I walked in and saw rainbows dancing across the walls, I fell in love. Such a little thing, and yet such joy! All from a tiny ball of glass.
The kitchen of my house faces east and receives wonderful morning sun through its two small windows. I’ve hung a crystal in each one, and on sunny mornings, I’m greeted with magical dabs of color on the walls and ceiling and cabinet doors. The sight never fails to make me smile, even in difficult times.
On the surface, these dancing rainbows are a small, perhaps (to some minds) a frivolous thing. On a deeper level, however, they’re a link, a tether, to all that’s good and right about the world. They’re a momentary respite—or even a way out of—whatever darkness or heaviness I might be caught up in. I can look at them and think, Even in the midst of (fill in the blank with my current “problem”), there is this—these fairy-like splashes of color and light. Even in the midst of strain and stress, beauty goes on, the light still shines.
For you, it might be something else. It might be the birds that visit your feeder every morning, or the dog that wakes you with a lick or a paw on the side of the bed. Whatever it is, take a moment to see it, to receive it. Carry it with you through your day. It’s the small joys—digging in the dirt, sliding between freshly laundered sheets, watching my cat sleep in a sunny shaft of light—that have gotten me through the tough times, and luckily, the small joys are always there to be had. I just have to take the time to notice.
Dear Ones –
The other night at my event in St Paul, a young woman asked me about how I achieve balance in my life.
First of all, I love that she thinks I have achieved balance in my life!
Secondly, I felt the need to speak out once more against the subtle tyranny of the word BALANCE, which I think haunts and punishes modern women more and more every day.
We are constantly being told that we should be achieving balance — that we should somehow exquisitely be negotiating the relationships between our work lives, our home lives, our romantic lives, our health and well-being, our spiritual selves. You can’t read an interview with a famous woman these days that the journalist does not applaud her for having achieved BALANCE….and then if you turn the pages of that magazine, you will find ten more articles showing how you can achieve balance. too!
Be careful. Continue reading