“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” – Pema Chodron
Hello Spiritual Warriors!!! And welcome to another week of life tools. This week we celebrate the American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron who teaches at the Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the author of the classic When Things Fall Apart and the magnificent life guide Comfortable with Uncertainty. And, her teachings are core to my Masters of Wisdom & Meditation Teacher Training, which I hold twice a year (16 weeks online and then a week right here with me at the Meditation Nest in the SweetSpot of the universe).
Pema Chodron teaches that we can use our difficulties and problems to awaken our hearts; that this moment is the perfect teacher; and that when you feel like running, instead lean into the pain, the hurt, or the discomfort. She is a powerful teacher of heart-based living and one of her core teachings is that true compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves but from realizing our kinship with all beings – our one-ness.
She advises that before we take on the suffering of others, we develop compassion for our own wounds. That can be difficult for some of us as we run around serving everyone else in the world and forgetting about our own emotional wellbeing. But, it is our unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion for others. And, if we are willing to stand fully in our own shoes and never give up on ourselves, then we will be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and never give up on them.
This week, I invite you to forgive yourself for one mistake you’ve made this year and treat yourself gently about it. Feel free to choose a big or a little “mistake”; just choose one thing you have been beating yourself up over and act kindly to yourself about it. Can you do that? Can you love yourself just a little bit more? (don’t worry – it’s just a little bit) Can you forgive yourself? (finally) Can you give yourself a second chance? Or third? (just one more time). Don’t do this alone. Forward this email to anyone you know in emotional pain and watch the impact of your compassion ripple out into the world.
After you’ve read this, sit with your fear, disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, or jealousy – own it. Sit with your sadness and feel it. Allow your feelings to become so deep that they pierce your heart. A magnificent experience will unfold. You will die to the past. You will step into the now. Your love will become true. Your heart will expand as will your ability to have compassion for yourself. I know…easier said than done. But if we take the time to just allow one emotion to ripple into our heart, a powerful cleansing will occur. Be gentle. Be loving. Be forgiving. Keep it real, keep rippling, and keep meditating. Email me your experiences at and let me know how this practice feels to you.
In the meantime, I’ll see you in the gap. Peace. -d