Putting out the Welcome Mat
A loved one of mine is struggling with something. The other night I was wracked with worry. I lay in bed unable to sleep, looping thoughts whirling through my mind, my heart aching for this person. After what seemed like eons, I asked myself, “How can my practice support me now?” I began to watch my thoughts and noticed that they were full of “If only….” and “We should …. “ and that I was creating all sorts of defenses and explanations and narratives around my loved one’s painful situation. And then I remembered a line from Frank Ostaseski’s amazing book, The Five Invitations, “Pain + Resistance = Suffering”. I realized that my thoughts were all forms of resistance to my pain and to my loved one’s pain. And then I remembered Tara Brach’s advice to just "sit in loving awareness of what arises". So I sat and met the pain, creating space for the fear, the concern, the guilt, the shame, the frustration, the sense of powerlessness, noticing where each emotion lived in the body (the area between my neck and my belly is a pretty scary neighborhood at some moments!) I kept reminding myself that I was big enough to hold all of this, that it was there anyways at that moment and I may as well sit in loving awareness of my full experience. As word-filled thoughts would arise, I would just return my attention to what I was feeling and experiencing in that moment. Gradually, the storm of desperate thoughts died down and a sense of resilience and capacity took hold. From that place, I was able to send wishes for peace to both my loved one and, importantly, to myself. And then sleep came.
So often we try to protect ourselves from pain by shutting ourselves off to it, moving into “fix it” mode, or dwelling on what’s happened in the past. But this resistance just turns our pain into suffering. The practice of Equanimity, an open-minded and open-hearted turning towards all that arises in our lives, helps us to create a habit of being present for our moment-to-moment experience, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant. When we do this, we begin to believe in our strength and resilience and understand that we have the capacity to hold the pleasant and the unpleasant, often at the same time.
Community Sits This Week:
Monday 12:00 PM Trumbull Library 33 Quality Street, Trumbull
Monday 1:00 PM Trumbull Library 33 Quality Street, Trumbull
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan
• Evening sessions @ Ferguson Library Thursdays at 7PM starting March 15
• One Day Silent Retreat with Guided Meditations Saturday April 21(more details to follow)
• Mindfulness in Education Conference @ St. Luke's School in conjunction with Spence School, New Canaan Saturday June 9 (more details to follow)
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
Stay up-to-date on all CMP news and happenings by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Meetup and Insight Timer. And our website CommunityMindfulnessProject.org.
May all beings everywhere without exception know their strength and resilience,
The CMP Team
** CMP is a 501c3 nonprofit.
Checks can be given to facilitators at our weekly sits or mailed to:
Community Mindfulness Project
P.O. Box 1713
New Canaan, CT 06840.
** We thank you!