Inspired by words of others yet again. I am reading ‘the Book of Joy’ – a book of sharing insights from a week they spent in conversation together, the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu. From lifetimes of living with the full complexities of life. Their fierce compassion, courage, heart and hope rings out – and in stark contrast to messages from other ‘great world leaders’ at this point in our histories. We have a choice. What do we choose to cultivate? Where do we make our steps from? A place of compassion and connection? Or a place of fear and separation? Trying my best to cultivate the calm and compassion in the midst of this challenge of being human.
Finding the funny in the midst of difficulty. Funny how humour is often the first thing to go under stress? Yet it too is a skill it seems! We need to allow ourselves to find humour in the ridiculousness of our lives, our pressures, our imagined fears, our prejudices. I miss my sense of humour when it leaves me. And that only serves to fuel the self-critic chattering away. The antidote? Whole-hearted laughing, starting with ourselves. We’ve all been there – in that moment, narrow, constricted, serious, head down – and something happens, something ridiculous, we catch the funny and the mood lifts, lightens, space opens up and tension dissolves. Not avoiding the difficulty. But acting in a way to help us step off that tension pedal that is constricting our view. We open up to possibility.
And then I heard words from Leonard Cohen that captured it all – in the midst of difficult times, work and personal hurts and stress, I smiled, my heart lifted, those unnecessaries faded out of view now and I was left with the heartful compassion for me and all of us just doing the best we can, moment to moment. Reminded once again of the power of mindfulness in action, we cultivate this compassionate attention and acceptance of how things are so that we can move and make choices from a place of heartfulness and strength. Each time we remember to practice – on the cushion, on the bus, on the street, in conversation with another … each time, we are building our capacities to live well through it all, the good the bad and the ugly. And they will keep coming. But maybe we can relate to them in ways that are more helpful for us all.
Reflecting on his uber famous song – Hallelujah (warming strong words ahead!):
“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess. And that’s what I mean by hallelujah. That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and just say “Hallelujah!” and “Blessed!” ( I’m choosing to read as welcoming in, with gratitude, with heartfulness!).
The only moment that you can live here in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment, when you embrace it all and you say ‘look I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah!’. That’s the only moment we live here fully as human beings”.
Try it today – find the exit from the difficulty by finding the funny, maybe with the help of Leonards wise words, in that moment of recognition of the difficult say – “I don’t understand a fucking thing – Hallelujah!!!”