This last Sunday I shared my experiences of being on sabbatical with those who gathered at First Parish. I shared how my writing required that I unpack my life, which caused me to feel a gamut of emotion and hooked me in a chain of reaction and self doubt. It was the wisdom offered by the Buddhist nun and author, Pema Chodron that helped me to pause long enough to break out of old patterns. Chodron encouraged, in her book ‘Taking The Leap’, “to get comfortable with, begin to relax with, lean in to, whatever the experience may be.” She was speaking specifically about those reactions that hook us and lead us down a path that is not necessarily where we want to go. Chodron calls us to, “drop the storyline and simply pause, look out, and breathe. Simply be present to a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, a whole lifetime, with our own shifting energies and with the unpredictability of life as it unfolds, wholly partaking in all experiences just exactly as they are.” I believed that this was far easier said than done and yet I realized that it can be easy to pause when we realize that we are hooked. When we feel anxious or frustrated or any emotion that hooks us, just take a few moments to let go and allow our natural intelligence, that part of us that knows what the logical “right” next move might be, take control. When we are hooked or caught in the chain of reaction it can be difficult to think clearly, pausing brings us home to a sense of calm and frontal lobe sanity. This practice of pausing helped me to find my way and I am thrilled to be back at First Parish and look forward to finding a place of calm and creating home with you.
This journey that we are on begins with our individual work with recognizing, “an opportunity for transformation, an open doorway. When we realize that we are triggered, think of it as a neutral moment, a moment in time, a moment of truth that can go either way.” Which way will we choose to go? Which wolf will we choose to feed: the wolf of vengeance and violence or the wolf of patience, love and compassion and how will this choice inspire us to respond?
May the honesty held in this one precious life be yours.