In conversations with friends and clients lately, I’m becoming very aware of the impact this peculiar holiday season is having on so many of us. It’s demanding a maximum capacity of our attention and sensitivity simultaneously. Sometimes I would like to fast forward to Spring and bypass all the awkwardness for the holidays that are prompting us to feel everyone and see no one.
I think of Pema Chodron's words in moments of overwhelm or awkwardness, that this moment is the perfect teacher. That tends to stop me in my tracks. Lately I think, "how lucky am I for having the opportunity to be a busy elf, creating pieces that I love to make." My grandson would say “oh, so lucky.” I like to imagine the work might arrive at it's final destination as a prompt for a well deserved deep breath.
This week we started to offer curbside pick up, which I’m really enjoying. It’s allowing me to meet some of the people that have followed these newsletters for a long time. I am always curious who the readers are and if sharing the teachings that come to me is of use to others? Obviously in curb side pick up arrangements we don’t spend a lot of time, but enough to feel grateful and understand that we have the same needs and the same love and respect for life. One thing for sure is that these times are tipping everyone off their centre and demanding a new way to look at our lives. Perhaps this could be an opportunity rather than a challenge. If there has ever been a time to show up and be there for ourselves and others, it's now.
When it comes to sharpening our tools of practice, I seem to have been oscillating lately between feeling a need for more fearlessness and other times to be more sensitive and compassionate. During an evening when I couldn’t sleep, I came across a guided meditation with Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Centre. Her meditation was 'do no harm, take no shit.' This got my attention, even made me laugh.
If all is exactly how it should be, the teachings must be encoded with how to find grace in the present moment and enough light to get through it. This meditation focused on balancing the two mudras (hand gestures on these Buddha images) The Verada mudra positions one hand by the side, palm forward and fingers down. It represents compassion, acceptance and openness to grace and to do no harm. The Abhaya mudra has the other arm bent and the hand flat with fingers together, palm facing out, fingers up. It is the gesture of protection, fearlessness or as Elizabeth Lesser shares, take no shit.
The first time I did this meditation, I thought of it as a useful practice for people that have to stand up for themselves, but I have nobody in my life that brings forth a need for defence. Then I walked passed a mirror and saw a whole army within me, ready to take me out at the knees. The nay sayer, critic and judge. We are all too often our worst enemy. If there is any noble battle, it's to fight the good fight and that is an inside job. It's a practice to pursue our dreams, our truth, dispel our fears and put love in the process. We can simultaneously be fearless, open and compassionate.
Practice, practice, practice, do no harm, take no sh.t.
Holding space for you with love, a lotus and a smile,