Sunday, January 13, 2013

We Are Not Our Sadness

I know many people who had a very tough time of it in 2012.  Just because the year has changed, that doesn't mean our sorrow has lifted.

I found this morning's episode of On Being to be quite helpful.  It was a wonderful interview with Roshi Joan Halifax, a Zen leader who has done a lot of work in the areas of both social justice and grieving.

I particularly liked the meditation that was included.  I loved the soothing voice of Halifax say the following:

"So I would like to invite you to put down whatever might be in your hand and to find a position that's comfortable and also that supports you and listen to my words. And if they are resonant for you, if they are helpful, really let them enter into your experience and bring your attention to the breath for just a moment and let the breath sweep your mind and notice whether it's a deep breath or shallow. And recall for a moment now a loss or losses that have really touched you or the anticipation of loss. And now offer some simple phrases: May I be open to the pain of grief? May I find the inner resources to really be present for my sorrow? May I accept my sadness knowing that I am not my sadness?"

It's always a revelation to remember that I can feel my sorrow and grief and that it won't rise up and overwhelm me.

I am not my sadness.

It was also a relief to hear Krista Tippett and Joan Halifax talk about the resiliency of people and how caregiving may enrich us instead of simply depleting us.  They also had a brief discussion of the plasticity of the brain.  We don't stop learning when we're 3 or 8 or 16.  It's a lifelong process.

You'll find lots of great resources here, including links to past shows, as well as a way to listen to this week's show, and the complete meditation.
We are not our sadness:  my reminder for the coming week, which brings back surgery for my husband, which will hopefully bring pain relief--but which is also a reminder that we're not college kids anymore.

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