“Trying to keep your territory enclosed and safe, is fraught with misery and suffering. It keeps you in a very small, dank, smelly introverted world that gets more and more claustrophobic and more and more misery -producing as you get older.” ~ Pema Chodron from The Wisdom Of No Escape
The path of the warrior is to find that beam of guiding light that cuts through everything else rattling around in my mind– the voices of doubt, worry, fear and clinging that try to guide my body’s every move. “Sit still long enough to let that light shine through,” I tell myself this morning.
“Follow your heart,” I told my roommate last night. She is making a life decision about job and income, I laughed out loud after the words exited my lips. “That sounds so cheesy,” I said to her, “because the only place we’ve heard it said is in Disney movies where the princess finally gets her prince. But actually if you feel into it and find what it really means i, it’s great advice!”
It turns out, after several years of meeting, that the common thing that all of us were looking for in that women’s group, was a place to follow our hearts and to be supported in doing so. We were looking for a place to explore breaking free of each of our “territories” as Pema Chodron calls them. We wanted to discover what it looked like to exist in ourselves while breaking down walls and letting light shine through, rather than protecting our ramparts.
For some women in our group, over the past five years, that has meant making external changes in our lives: job, relationship, home, but for the most part it’s meant the opposite. It’s meant taking a deep breath and sitting back into our lives. It’s meant stopping the frenzied searching and leaning back into our own existence, resting into the choices we’ve made and finding peace in what already is.
One of the quotes from our women’s group that I love– ” Enlightenment is the deep understanding that there is no problem.” Investigating this statement in my own daily existence astonished me… not because I took this pearl of wisdom into the world and felt better about myself / life / choices, but because it helped me to see that according to my mind, my fairly cushy and peaceful existence, was fraught with “problems.”
As I explored this statement I began to notice that from the time I woke up in the morning, to the time I went to sleep at night the majority of the thoughts that came through my head had to do with a problem, complaint, or issue. WIth what? Well, with just about anything! Over the course of a three week period (the time between our meetings) I watched my mind come up with problem after problem…
“Ugh, someone didn’t put the dishes away last night. And there’s crumbs on the counter. I just cleaned this floor last night, how can it be dirty again?”
“Oh no I didn’t get up on time, now I’ll be late. I don’t have time to check my email because I got up late so… oh now I’m really late. And now that I’m late, I’m flustered.”
“Yep, I’m flustered. Now I’m having a bad day. I wish I could just go back to bed. Oh man, I haven’t checked my email I bet it’s really full, don’t think about that now just focus. Come on Paige, I mean you’re already late!”
“I bet that document is in my email that I promised I would finish today. Oh but I’m late, I over slept, and the house is a mess! He’s going to be waiting for my response, crap!”
“Did she look at me funny? Did I say something wrong. Why did I have to open my mouth, I’m too damn direct all the time!”
I was astonished at how the thoughts that came through my mind could create a hurricane out of a light breeze, if I followed them. If I followed them. And that was a big IF.