I'm deeply grateful for my new career: As a mindfulness teacher, I can’t escape my own crap. I’m continually called out, not by people but by awareness itself. When I prepare a class on self-compassion, I see multiple ways in which I’m harsh or judgmental, and then I choose differently: I practice forgiveness. When the topic is gratitude, I notice many ways that I protect my heart, and then I choose differently: I practice generosity.
Since mom died, I've tried to practice self-compassion. I need gentleness as I move through grief. I need gentleness as I navigate this unpredictable life. And I thought I was doing just that. Then I attended a 3-day silent meditation retreat and received a clear message: I need sincere love and kindness from within. This insight brought me to tears.
When I go on meditation retreat, I often hear some version of these words: "You don't speak forthree whole days? I couldn't do that." It's interesting that not talking is the deal breaker. There are many hard parts of a meditation retreat: judging mind, fear, doubt, and physical discomfort. On retreat, there's no place to hide. I get an honest look at myself and that's difficult territory. But not speaking, that's a gift.
There are many ways to rush through our days. And there are many choices for small yet substantial pauses. Spread throughout the day, purposeful pauses can shift our landscape. One of these places is mealtime. Food nourishes us and, in community, it nourishes connection. It's an important time to be fully present. Yet we seldom are.