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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Not Giving Up

In my last post, I shared: In regards to the friendship I’m currently in heartache over, I’ve come to realize – after much processing back and forth – that there is a way for me to keep my heart open to this person while also distancing myself from them.

Shortly after writing this, I came across a well-timed article on Twitter, entitled Why You Should Never Give Up on Anybody by Lodro Rinzler. Don’t you just love when things line up?

I clicked on the link right away and set to reading the article. Here it is, if you’d like to give it a gander.

I especially appreciated this segment from the article:

In the Buddhist tradition we refer to beings willing to keep their heart open no matter what as bodhisattvas. Bodhi is a Sanskrit word which can be translated as “open” or “awake.” Sattva can be translated from Sanskrit as “being” or “warrior.” It’s a person who is incredibly brave in maintaining an open heart, no matter what comes up in their life. This experience is something we can aspire to. The Zen master Seung Sahn once said, “Being a bodhisattva means when people come, don’t cut them off; when people go, don’t cut them off.”

I was so enjoying this article – that is, until I got to the end, where Lodro shared this practice:

HOW TO NOT GIVE UP

Pema Chödron is an American Buddhist teacher who has written extensively about the pain of a broken heart and I can’t recommend her work more highly. Below I have adapted an exercise she has recommended. It starts by taking a photo of the person you are having a hard time with and displaying it prominently in your home. This may initially cause you discomfort. So much of heartbreak is staying with our discomfort.

Every time you walk by the photo look at the being you are struggling with and simply say, “I wish you the best.” If that rings hollow to you instead say, “I know you are basically good” or “You’re not a jerk all the time.” Whatever phrase you choose, make it personal, but some version of acknowledging that they are not basically evil. Do this several times a day, whenever your gaze falls on the photo. Let your heart soften over time.

 

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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in Everyday Practice

 

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Heart Heavy

My heart has been heavy as of late.

Heavy with the loss of a close friendship I thought I was building over this past year; heavy with the sadness of past close friendships that fell away that have been reopened in the wake of these fresh feelings of hurt and sorrow; heavy with the collection of matters I’ve been invested in over the past few months in regards to suicide awareness and prevention, hospice work, and the class on racism I’ve been involved in; and heavy with the ongoing heartbreak of the people – my people.

Tonight, I was planning on going to a public talk on the UM campus on the topic of missing and murdered indigenous women. Then, on my way home from work this afternoon, I thought to myself: My heart is simply too heavy and sore and tender to absorb any more right now. I think I need to stay home tonight and practice self-care. So that’s what I intend on doing.

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In regards to the friendship I’m currently in heartache over, I’ve come to realize – after much processing back and forth – that there is a way for me to keep my heart open to this person while also distancing myself from them. My work right now is centered around letting go. And gosh, it sure is hard.

While I will remain open to this person, should they decide to reach out to me on their own (which seems highly unlikely), I need to stop trying to connect interpersonally with this person. I’ve exhausted myself in being the only one reaching out; the only one trying to have open and honest communication; the only one who seems invested in furthering our relationship. Despite how close we were getting, how hopeful I was that I’d found someone to cultivate a deeper connection with, this person has recently bailed almost entirely on our friendship. And it hurts. It hurts more than it seems like it “should.”

The work of letting go is sometimes excruciatingly difficult. And a big part of this work for me right now, is allowing my feelings to be just as they are, without trying to fix them or placate them with niceities or cover over them with dispersion and distraction techniques. I keep telling myself: It’s okay that this freekin sucks right now. It’s okay that your heart hurts and that you’re full of sorrow. And then I follow those reminders with this one: Try not to let your temporary feelings of hurt imprint a lasting impression on getting close with others. Don’t let this be what shuts your heart down.

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This morning, I wrote this on my writer’s facebook page:

The work I’ve done on myself, I’ve not done for myself alone. The work I continue to do – will continue to do – is for the people. For all those I affect in my wake; for my ancestors; for future generations; for all those I will never know.

And I am humbled, honored, and grateful for this drive forward – this mission in which I’ve inherited from a long line of spiritual healers, on a mission to assist with the great heartbreak of the people.

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The practice – my practice – continues.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2018 in Everyday Practice

 

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Good People

Clarence Jordan, 1912-1969

As part of the class I’m currently taking on white awareness and developing racial literacy, we were asked to put together a short presentation highlighting a white ally (a white person who supported racial equality or worked on behalf of black people in some way). It could be someone alive and active in this area today or someone from the past. In doing an online search, I chose Clarence Jordan.

In the spirit of shining light on the simple and profound truth of how good people abound in the world (past & present), I thought I’d share the report I put together, which I’ll be offering to my class tomorrow. The way I see it: we can all use some good-people-medicine and stand to be reminded about the power of heartfelt and authentic determination to do well by others.

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Clarence Jordan was a white Baptist preacher who was described as a man with the zeal of a missionary. He was born in 1912 in Talbotton GA, and died of a heart attack at age 57, in 1969.

He graduated from Ag-college and then went on to seminary, where he earned a PhD in the Greek New Testament (and if I remember right, he only read the bible in Greek).

While at seminary, he met Florence Kroeger and they soon married and went on to have 4 children.

Clarence was a man of many interests and talents. I watched an interview where someone said that you didn’t want to mess with him – not because of his stature or powers of intimidation but because he was a man who bore the truth and lived diligently with his moral code in a way that few others did.

In 1942, Clarence founded Koinonia Farm (KF) in southwest GA, which was situated on 440-acres. Koinonia means: communion or fellowship, which in the 5th book of the New Testament is applied to the earliest Christian community.

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Posted by on December 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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