Don’t get excited. I’m not making any resolutions to be less wordy or more diplomatic in 2015. I just wanted to drop a little gem that has been resonating with me for weeks now. Maybe some already practice it, perhaps it will comfortably widen the connection others have with their own life force.
About six weeks ago, I attended a Buddhist Psychology workshop given by Jack Kornfield.
I was first exposed to a few basic Buddhist philosophies while having no idea for over a year that that’s what they were. They were lovingly woven through a weekly Yin (as opposed to Yang) yoga class I took a few years ago. And I noticed as infertility tightened its grip they were the only tools that were holding any water for me.
My teacher’s perspective, when I asked her what in the heck this stuff was because it was really helping me, emerged as a funny one. “Well, the philosophies I teach in class are rooted in Buddhism, but I don’t like to tell people because I don’t want them to get turned off by that.”
Hmmm. I myself wouldn’t have been. If something is both kind and functional in facilitating a deeper connection with my own being, I really don’t care much about the label of its roots. But she made an interesting point. So, should you think this stuff is not your cup of tea, try not to get turned off. At least for a few more paragraphs anyway. Then you can run if you are so moved.
Mr. Kornfield was talking of the Dali Lama’s inability to understand self-hatred that he had observed when hearing the Dali Lama speak. He pointed out that there is actually no word for self-hatred in Tibetan. And that in that way of life, the approach of compassion is always there.
I paraphrase: “The question really is how do you touch your own fear, pain, and trauma? The question is not whether or not we have it, as all humans experience some level of fear, pain, and trauma during their life-times. It is not that you have it, but how you touch it. Do you touch it with judgment, or with the loving ability to recognize yourself as something bigger?”
Though potentially useful for anyone, I immediately thought of the infertile community.
A community that grapples to reconcile hard-hitting larger than life emotions on a daily basis. A community that is perpetually judged for those emotions as well. And all too often by our very own loved ones, most notably in the form of abusive “You should be happy for her” scoldings.
The tough, unfamiliar and all too often taboo emotions that are inevitably included with any loss and life crisis are almost always the most overwhelming component. I venture to say dealing with them is, above all else, a practice. I may not always be able to lower my resistance when intending to beckon my pain closer. The embrace I seek with my jealousy may sometimes only result in a handshake, the snuggling I need to do with my fears, a polite wave. But I will try, try and try again as I walk this lifelong path of welcoming ALL of my pieces.
Tomorrow is my blogaversary. I don’t even know if that’s how you spell it, but that’s true with me and a lot of words. When I figured this out a few weeks ago, I laughed. Who hauls off on the social injustices of infertility on December 29th of all times? Random! Perhaps my fire needs a few pats on the head while I’m at it, this self compassion thing.
Mr. Kornfield also talked about being a witness and how every human being needs one. So true. And no one knows this more than those of us who are the recipients of any pain, loss and trauma that goes widely unrecognized and unvalidated by society. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for being mine.
I’m officially signing off from 2014. I’ve got many rambunctious perspectives and deep (or annoying, depending on how you look at it) thoughts coming in 2015. Hope to see you there.