Empaths; Diluted Spiritual Practice

pink tulipsWhen I’m sad I buy flowers.

Today I bought a bouquet of pink tulips.

I wasn’t sad for myself, or suffering any great loss. But I have been the strong shoulder on which to lean for a few of my friends lately, and it got me to thinking.

There’s been a lot of talk about ’empaths’ lately. It’s the hip catch-word for empathy, and kind of an annoying one at that. Heaven forbid we feel empathy for one another any more. It’s so fucking depressing and inconvenient after all.

Who needs that?! Aren’t we all supposed to be hap-hap-fucking-happy all of the time? Isn’t it best to dilute our suffering so we can ignore it a little easier and be productive? Maybe a new purse would help? Oooh! And the matching shoes!

Empathy has long been trickling out of our culture like a slow leak in a milk bag. The only thing  that it leaves behind is a disgusting sour mess.

Self-awareness has somehow eclipsed the sacred and ancient practice of being present. Fully present. As in, being as fully aware of your own actions and reactions in relation to the rest of the world.

I was sad today because I woke up to two phone calls from people  who are suffering. I also woke up to a text message from someone rather new in my life. I knew it was thoughtfully composed, and I knew why, and that made me sad too.  The collective ‘we’  complicate things unnecessarily, and all it really does is hurt.

“I’m an empath,” someone recently confided to me at a party. “I see,” I replied. It’s my standard response when someone’s utter oblivion catches me off-guard.

What I really wanted to say was, “We’re all empaths honey”.

We’re all human and we all feel a full spectrum of emotion. Remember that the next time you hold back. Whether you’re trying to play it cool in a romantic relationship, not break boundaries as a friend or colleague, or wondering whether you should defend someone in their absence.

Remember that we all feel deeply, this wild and wonderful bittersweet life.

Empath, schmempath! Enough pop-psychology drivel. Practice being fully present, and I promise, your heart will thank you for it.

 

Advertisements

No Mud No Lotus

lotusmudNo kidding.

We know that already don’t we? We’ve all heard the sayings;

It’s always darkest before the dawn

No pain, no gain.

You can’t have a rainbow without the rain.

It’s in when I’m in the middle of chaos that I know my mind and emotions rock back and forth as violently as a ship on a stormy sea.

It is when I’m in the middle of chaos that I forget all of my training as a meditating wonder. Instead,  I laugh, cry, rage and cower randomly, and often.

It’s when I’m in the middle of chaos that I forget my breath.

I forget that deep knowing in my soul that the world is as it should be, and the best thing to do is to surrender and do my best in the present moment.

Instead, I regret the past, I fear the future, hope, despair and basically, drive myself crazy.

I guzzle my tea, swallow my food, and forget what I’m actually doing while my mind is travelling through the time-space continuum.

Little phrases like, ‘No Mud No Lotus’, coined by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) can seem kitschy and meaningless when you see them plastered on a car bumper, or posted on a Facebook page.

For practicing Buddhists they can be a bell calling them back to their breath, to the present moment.

These concise little phrases  can be the reminder that you haven’t really ‘practicing‘ anything, and you need to get back to the cushion.

No Mud No Lotus. 

Tomorrow before I hit the shower, I will remember to great the morning;

wakingupthismorning

 

After I repeat that my butt will hit  the cushion.

This weekend before I head out to work on Saturday night, I will register for my annual meditation retreat.

Tonight, before bedtime, I will breath. I will smile.

I will have to dig deep, past all of the, ‘screw this’s, and screw you’s’, and I will remember just how much I have to be grateful for.

No Mud No Lotus; Thanks for the reminder.

Work Schmirk

Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multi...

Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multimedia Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WORK – noun, adjective, verb, worked or wrought/ working.

noun
1. Exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labour; toil.
Work, you know what I’m talking about right? That  nebulous, mundane thing that folks talk about doing every day?  The stuff you do to pay your bills and take your bi-annual much-deserved vacations?
Work – the very thing that makes some of you wonderful little plums dread Monday morning.
We all work. Whether it’s around the house, or in the yard, or on something we take up as a hobby. Perhaps it’s even your 9-5 pay-cheque gathering activity darling.
Of all the things people say about ‘work’, I think that this quote by the brilliant poet Charles Bukowski describes it best;
How in the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress,  force feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, fight traffic, to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
I have met people who complain about their suffering because they have chosen long commutes over time with their young families. I have also met people who chose to ‘work’ as little as possible and pursue their happiness elsewhere.
Ideally, we all get the opportunity to work at something we find meaningful and feel passionately about.
At the very least we should all work just enough to be able to have time and resources to pursue our great loves; Family, Spirituality and Art.
Stay fabulous my delicate peaches, and don’t let work dull your sparkle.

Come As You Are: Sacred Curiosity

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I subscibe to daily meditation tips, inspirational quotes and other such nonsense. 

I am passing this along. I believe the quote is from pages 4-5 of Pema Chodron’s book Awakening  Loving-Kindness.

If you wish to subscribe to these messages, I believe that this link will work for you.

THE PATH IS CURIOSITY

The path of meditation and the path of our lives altogether has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “Well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.

Forward to a friend.

 
 

EXCERPTED FROM

Book cover