quote du jour ~chögyam trungpa – going beyond fear….

Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits  you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn’t happen that way. Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart.

~Chögyam Trungpa

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sweeping, hiding, shutting

Some days, just getting through the day is like slogging through molasses. Sometimes, even when you can list a thousand things for which you are immensely grateful, and point to many things that are going well, the wet blanket of all-that’s-wrong/all-that’s-lacking/all-that-could-go-wrong covers everything, even the good stuff, in a heavy, grey, cloudy mass. Eventually, you reach a point where trying to throw off the blanket seems like so. much. work.

How do you get out of those periods? How do you scrabble your way up through the murk to the light again? I don’t think there’s one way that’s right for everyone. However, I do think there is a truth inherent in such periods of darkness. This truth is that, just as the body signals disease with physical symptoms, these periods of dark discomfort let us know there is something that needs our attention, something that needs to be looked at more closely, something that we’ve been sweeping under the rug, hiding behind the door, shutting away in a closet.

This is where I’ve been in recent months. First, I swept because I was busy. Then I hid because I was exhausted and not ready to look. Then I shut because it had become too painful. Continue reading

time warp

I popped in here last night and was surprised to see that I hadn’t posted anything in more than a week—not even a quote du jour. Then again, my schedule the last couple of months has been morning til night, seven days a week (plus a house guest for ten days)—and this coming on top of a 6- to 8-month period that’s been pretty intense emotionally. No sudden, earth-shaking events or anything, just a lot of emotions coming up, recognition of patterns and realizations about my life, about where I’ve been and where I am now and where I want to be. Big life stuff…yet outer things have demanded my attention and left me little time to sit and sort and assimilate these thoughts and feelings.

When I finally got past a big deadline on the 12th (opening night for a show I’d choreographed), it all fell down around me, so to speak. I felt heavy and sad and listless and overwhelmed, depressed and unable to focus. The ice storm and single-digit weather last week didn’t help, keeping me mostly indoors for several days running, layering cabin fever on top of the cloud that was already hanging over me.

Now, ten days later, I’m finally feeling a bit more normal, but there’s still a sense of “Now what? Where do I start? What do I think? How do I feel? How do I sort this all out?” I’ve been pushing hard the last few months, but now that the pushing is over and I have some breathing room, I don’t know how to act.

So…I’m trying to give myself some time to adjust, to find my center (which has been AWOL for some time now) again. I need some long(er) walks in the woods, less time on the computer, more time reading and writing, a lot of time in the garden, and a lot of time just being. I need to find my inner rhythm again, to find the middle ground between fast forward and full stop.

Thanks for your patience in my absence. I am (sort of) back now, and I’ll be posting quotes du jour and sharing random thoughts on a regular basis soon.

thoughts + quote du jour ~rilke

I woke this morning with an unexplained sadness wafting through me. I thought perhaps it was just a mood left over from an early-morning dream, but then I remembered that I’ve felt this sadness more than once in the week or so since I returned to Raleigh—since I came homea life event/change that I’m happy about, that I wanted. I’ve also had many moments of sudden, leaping joy and quiet peace…these made sense. But why sadness?

Then, later today, I came across the Rilke quote below on Facebook:

It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

As I read the quote, I felt the truth of Rilke’s words drop into place in my soul. He describes perfectly the sense of what I’d been feeling. As I considered his words, I realized that this morning’s sadness was not a heavy melancholy, but, as Rilke said, a presence, something to be embraced, absorbed, taken in. I will stop here, for to attempt to articulate what I think I now understand on a deep, wordless level would be futile. That the insight is there, however fragile, is enough.

walking north ~mark nepo

Photo by Lisa Tate

Walk long enough
and we all trade places.

We are always surrounded and carried by the Whole, while we take turns holding and being held, falling and getting up, listening and trying to say what matters. This reminds me of Nur. She too had cancer and was a model of strength, a feisty blessing. I remember when she died. I was so sad. Yet the light was merciless in its beauty that day, forcing me to begin to heal. It made me realize, in those painfully bright hours, that no matter how I turn away, the magnificent light follows, background to my sadness.

It works the other way, too. I have known such moments of complete simplicity that all my problems and limitations seemed, for the moment, to vanish, Continue reading

when caving is a good thing

So there are days when all of the stress and worry and confusion and “overwhelmed-ness” pile up one on top of the other and they finally exceed the weight limit and your tough outer shell just…caves. Last Friday was one of those days. Continue reading

quote du jour ~pema chodron …joy includes everything

Whether it’s connecting with the genuine heart of sadness and the messy areas of our lives, or connecting with vision and expansion and openness, what’s real is all included in well-being: it’s all included in joy. Joy is not about pleasure as opposed to pain or cheerfulness as opposed to sadness. Joy includes everything.

~Pema Chodron