excerpted from “start where you are”.. pema chodron
We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty feeling that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here.
This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. Looking at ourselves this way is very different from our usual habit. From this perspective we don’t need to change: you can feel as wretched as you like, and you’re still a good candidate for enlightenment. You can feel like the world’s most hopeless basket case, but that feeling is your wealth, not something to be thrown out or improved upon. There’s a richness to all of the smelly stuff that we so dislike and so little desire. The delightful things – what we love so dearly about ourselves, the places in which we feel some sense of pride or inspiration – these also are our wealth. With the practices presented in this book, you can start just where you are.
If you’re feeling angry, poverty-stricken, or depressed, the practices described here were designed for you, because they will encourage you to use all of the unwanted things in your life as the means for awakening compassion for yourself and others. These practices show us how to accept ourselves, how to relate directly with suffering, how to stop running away from the painful aspects of our lives. They show us how to work openheartedly with life just as it is. When we hear about compassion, it naturally brings up working with others, caring for others. The reason we’re often not there for others – whether for our child or our mother or someone who is insulting us or someone who frightens us – is that we’re not there for ourselves.
There are whole parts of ourselves that are so unwanted that whenever they begin to come up we run away. Because we escape, we keep missing being right here, being right on the dot. We keep missing the moment we’re in. Yet, if we can experience the moment we’re in, we discover that it is unique, precious, and completely fresh. It never happens twice. One can appreciate and celebrate each moment – there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!
i woke up this morning thinking about the changes that are taking place in my life right now. the largest of those being that i am taking a room mate to ease with my bills. i have lived alone for almost 14 years and this will no doubt bring cause for adjustment and no doubt some uncomfortability. i hope it brings with it some unexpected joy and softening of my heart. although that his not why i am doing it.
there is some element to our current millennial driven culture that reminds me of the 1970’s. there were so many diverse and fragmented aspects to our mainstream culture. it seemed that fashion, music, and literature all reflected these nuances. we were one america at that time, but we were not all alike. very much like today.
i was perusing youtube and watching random vids and came across a photo montage of nyc in 1977 and the accompanying music was trans europe express. that song transforms me to another place in my life automatically. it still has such powerful hypnotic qualities. the whole album does. i still adore techno and kraftwerk is the reason. i thought i’d share some of their genius with you today.