When I was two, my mother broke my arm because I couldn't stop crying.
Part One -- suffering in
My mother had dreamed of having children, but she struggled with rage. Looking back now, I know she was horrified and ashamed by what she had done.
To my mother, evil was something that made her feel bad, after my broken arm that something was me. It eased her discomfort to believe that she was only responding to my true nature. She was a victim, if you will, of her child's
Some people are better at empathy than compassion, so they tend to focus on themselves when they encounter distress. There are two ways to respond to suffering: Compassion is tied to the present moment. A compassionate person resonates with the distress in front of them, rather than the events that brought the suffering about. Compassion is an immediate, uncomfortable sensory experience. Because it's embodied, it's often tied to action, but is frequently without words. Whe
It's easy to forget that every time we focus on something we are not focusing on something else. Here is an article from 2013 about the Boston Marathon Bombings... It's the answer to a Quora question about how to comfort people affected by a mass murder. In light of yesterday's shooting in Dallas, I needed to read it again. -------------- I think those most affected by the bombing would be least comforted by words. For them, the support of strangers is a phenomenon like the
I have some advice that may sound counter-intuitive, but it's the fastest and surest way I can think of to get to the heart of the heart. Start with self-pity. Maybe, like me, you have little patience for the whiny, comparing little bugger who sits in the corner of your psyche making excuses and wringing its hands. "It's not fair," that voice says. "I work so haaaaard and no one appreciates me." "I'll neeeeverrr be as spiritual as everyone else." "Why do I have to..." "Do
Like so many things, the purpose of forgiveness is not the end of the process. The purpose of dance is not to finish dancing. The purpose of a vacation is not the plane ride home. The purpose of forgiveness is to transform pain into insight, and suffering into depth. Forgiveness starts right in the core of resentment and anger the second we become willing to let it go. If you have been trying to forgive for years, for years you have been forgiving. It is a wise and honest
Forgiveness is not a single event. It's a life saving strategy that you'll visit over and over on your journey. Oprah Winfrey, a fellow survivor, describes how one day, as an adult, she found herself in the kitchen making pancakes for a visiting relative - the one who had molested her. Something inside her snapped. This was after therapy, after she thought she had done the work, after she thought she had forgiven him. Don't make breakfast for your molester, she said, jus
It is a common misconception that addiction is a choice rather than a disease. What is more accurate to say is that most diseases (including cancer and addiction) have a behavioral component - this is usually how people get exposed to a disease agent. Take a morally neutral illness like the flu for example - people leave their home and go to places where crowds are, greatly increasing their risk of getting the flu.
Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many many other dise
What we refuse to own, we carry or bury or give to someone else.
A little letter to self:
Approach the light and discover your shadow follows and darkens.
So, what to do? Ignore it? Run faster? The shadow grows and distorts. Soon it is long enough to cast darkness on those who would follow. (Addicted gurus. Cult leaders. Those who have risen to crash.)
Stop. Be still. Gather your courage. Take five deep breaths.
Turn around and face your anger and fear and sham