Pema Chodron is an American born buddhist author that I absolutely adore. She makes the concepts of Buddhism so easy to grasp and delivers it with a sense of humor and grace. The first book I read of hers “When Things Fall Apart” came at a time when things did feel like they were falling apart and I was terribly uncomfortable with it!! I was 25 and coming out of a whirlwind romance that almost had me living on an island in the Caribbean for the rest of my life. I now look back and I am thankful a force bigger than me pulled the rug out from under me. Because, let me tell you I would have been miserable if I moved to the Caribbean.
So there I was wondering what my next step would be. It wasn’t that I was worried about finding love again, I was more concerned with my feelings of fear and regret. I hated feeling like I had no control. I hated the impermanence of it all. The fact that things could be taken away from me against my will. That’s what shook me to my core. You mean I don’t have control of everything? I wish I could remember who first gave me this book (I think it may have been my mother) but it was exactly what I needed. Her teachings make you realize the beauty in the fact that everything is always changing. Nothing will every stay the same no matter how hard we try to get them to. They evolve, grow and shift. Instead we must cozy up to the impermanence of it all or we will always be fighting a battle we can’t win. Life isn’t always tied in a pretty bow. It isn’t always easy but that doesn’t mean we are being punished. Without pain there is no joy. So lean into the pain, the regret, the fear the whatever it may be and make friends with it rather than try to ignore it or cover it up.
Favorite Pema quotes~
“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.”
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
“No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.”
“Nothing in its essence is one way or the other.”