I have a friend who’s lived with a man for years, but she’s not happy with him. He’s an alcoholic who stopped drinking, but never did the work of the twelve steps. He’s what’s known as a “dry drunk.” He’s so mean to her. He doesn’t do it when I’m around. Yesterday he got going on the social-political-economic mess. I said a few things in agreement, but R asked him to stop. I had to agree with her — it’s true that looking at how bad it is tends to send me into despair and hopelessness. R really doesn’t enjoy living in the same house with him, but she can’t survive on her own. She’s tried to get a job, but no one wants to hire an older woman. I said maybe she has some karma to work out.
I realize that I’m in a similar position. I’m unhappy with my life as it is now — not with the physical part of it which is good, but my prevailing mood of discomfort and disappointment. I’m stuck with it. Although I do occasionally have “days of grace” I don’t know how to make them happen. All I can do is keep doing the practices that create a readiness to receive grace. These are: the stretches to keep my body limber, walking, getting to bed at a regular time, having body work, reciting affirmations, singing in the choir, dancing at Neskaya, doing my best to stay in the present, typing journal and posting to the blog, spending time with people I can be real with (people I know love me). One thing that I’ve found really difficult is being present to the states of scared & sad & hopeless & helpless, accepting them, bringing compassion to them. It’s helpful if I can remember to say “scared is here” rather than “I am scared.” Sometimes I can see it as a scared child and reach out to comfort it. The hardest piece is being angry and disappointed with myself for losing the days of grace. Knowing what it was like to feel comfortable in my life makes it so hard to be without that. Like today. I’m “OK,” I’m not really sad or scared, but I don’t feel comfortable either. Then my job is to accept the discomfort, to put my arms around her and bring compassion to her pain.
I also have my mantra of “I choose to trust … that my life is meaningful, that my healing work on myself helps both people and the planet…”
I’ve also been doing tong-len with whatever feelings I’m struggling with. I see that I could do it for people who are disappointed with themselves. I can also work on what I did in last week’s session with Caryn. Let love in “drop by drop,” from all the people who I know love me. Allow the nourishing energy of the earth to seep in from below, and then allow the radiance that other people see to flow out into the world.