Letting go of Attachment

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.”  Dalai Lama

Since seeing how peaceful, gentle, friendly and kind the people of Bhutan are I have been trying to get a deeper understanding of Buddhism. In his book, What makes you not a Buddhist, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse says that you are only a Buddhist if you accept the following four truths or ‘seals’ (not to be confused with Buddhism’s four noble truths):

  • All compounded or fabricated things are impermanent
  • All emotions bring pain and suffering and that there is no emotion that is purely pleasurable
  • All phenomena are illusory and empty, things have no inherent existence
  • Enlightenment does not exist within the spheres of time, space and power, it is beyond concepts.

Once you have realised that the self and all its possessions are impermanent and have no truly existing nature, you have non attachment. This is a lot easier said than done, and I find it difficult, especially in our society that is so attached to possessions, status, looks, image and happiness.

Lori Deschene gives some ideas on how to let go of attachment which is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment commitment that involves changing the way you experience and interact with everything you instinctively want to grasp.

 

 

The Fledgling’s Prayer

I came across this poignant poem written by Gretchen Schmelzer – a poem written by a young adult child to his/her parents.

The Fledgling’s Prayer

These are my wings—
Feathers and muscles and sinew
grown from your love and care,
sewn and mended
with your devotion and constancy.

And now—
I am ready to soar
with all that I am,
from all that you gave me.

All flights are practice flights.
They happen in that
blessed space between us.
A space wide enough
to stretch my wings
but not lose touch.

Tossed into the air
an arm’s length away.
Jumping off the dock,
three feet away.
Dropped off at Kindergarten,
three blocks away.
Dropped off at college,
Three hours away.
All flights are big flights.

And how did this happen?
None of us ever knows for sure.
I think perhaps Joy and Sorrow
grabbed hands and leapt
—forming the wings
that carry me forward.

But remember no one leaps, really.

I didn’t fly because I
jumped—so much as I simply
forgot for a moment to hold on.
I did. I forgot.
I forgot because the wind,
or is it God? –
whispered in my ear,
and sang the melody of my future.

I forgot for a moment to hold tight
and the wind caught my wings
pulling me forward.
It does. Life pulls you forward.

You are not the wind beneath my wings
as that old song croons.

No, you are the wings themselves.
I carry you with me and
you will always carry me.

The wind? Well that is God’s song
for each of us, our purpose, our passion.
It is the tidal pull of the universe
helping me to find my place,
helping me to share my gifts.

And you, sitting proud and brave
on the edge of our nest.
This small prayer is for you.

May the sight of my wings flashing
and the tales of my long flights
bring you as much joy as they bring me.
I can hear the wind calling and my heart
is full of the hopes we have both carried.

The fullness of myself,
the fullness of your love,
and the fullness of the world you gave me
take up my whole being.

This fullness defies language
except to say
that it used to be the feeling
I had when I leaned on you,
when you had hold of me.

And now—oh joy—
the nest I used to rest in
has made a place inside of me.

But for you, as for me,
there is also sorrow.
I am sad that this prayer
is all I have to offer you
in return for my wings.

And my heart aches imagining views
and vistas we will not share.
Do they exist if you don’t see them too?
Do I exist, if you can’t see me?
If I forget you for a moment,
will you remember me?

I pray that we both may find comfort
in the pages of books you read to me long ago,
that no matter what—
we are doing or
no matter where we are flying—
we both live under the very same moon.
And all we need to do is to look up
in to the night sky
to know that we are still connected,
to know that we will always belong,
to know that wherever we are,
we are home.”

           Gretchen Schmelzer

I am glad, but even more sad, that my two fledglings have left home (mostly) and are soaring (mostly).
I would love to think that they look at the moon and think of me. Realistically though, I think that they look at their rapidly reducing bank balances, lack of data, empty fridges, piles of laundry, and then think of me.
But I live in hope!

8 Simple Words to say When Someone you Love is Grieving

“Our culture treats grief like a problem to be solved or an illness to be healed. We’ve done everything we can to avoid, ignore, or transform grief. So that now, when you’re faced with tragedy, you usually find that you’re no longer surrounded by people — you’re surrounded by platitudes.”  Tim Lawrence

So what can we offer instead?”

This article was shared on Facebook by a good friend of mine. A friend who knows how to “be there with” people who are grieving. To her and my other friends who know how to “be with”  – a big heartfelt thank you for many years ago!

 

The Roots of Shame – the Shaming Witness

“When we become more compassionate witnesses to people’s challenges and traumas, we not only open ourselves up to better understanding of others and healthier relationships with them, but we also set ourselves up to receive that same compassion and understanding for, and relationship with, ourselves; and we then contribute to the growth of a society that makes validating and embracing our genuine experiences and feelings the new norm.” – David Bedrick

In this article on shame David Bedrick writes about the Shaming Witness – a really good read and sadly also very true for many people.

Flourishing with TRE

In his article on Kicking the Stress and Trauma Bucket Before it Kicks You Richmond Heath speaks about how our bodies possess ancient wisdom and movements designed to recover from stress and trauma, and to move towards thriving during times of safety.

TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) is one of the most wonderful modalities I have come across and it enables the body to shift into a restorative mode. Please come and join me on my next 6 week course and learn how to use it by yourself at home.

6 WEEK TRE GROUP COURSE STARTING ON TUESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER IN CLAREMONT

We are all affected by stress – it is part of life.

Designed by David Berceli, TRE is a simple technique that helps your body release stress or tension that has accumulated from day-to-day life experiences, immediate or ongoing stressful situations, and traumatic life events. A set of simple exercises invokes a mild tremor which helps bring the nervous system back to a state of calm and balance. Once learned TRE is a gentle and effective self-healing tool.

Some of the reported benefits of TRE include:

  • Greater sense of calm and inner peace
  • Less anxiety and worry
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Increased emotional resilience
  • Relief from chronic medical conditions
  • Release of muscular tension from exercise and sport
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Increased spiritual connection

Date:  6 Sept – 11 Oct (every Tuesday for 6 weeks)

Cost:  R950 (paid upfront)

Time:  7.00pm to 8.15pm

Venue: Claremont

Depression – if you are sane you need to read this

A friend of mine who battles with depression commented on the brave and honest article written on depression by Mia McCarthy. It is a long article which tries to give an understanding of depression.

My friend commented that the author’s list of things that people can do to help a person with depression is good – so if you do not want to read the whole article scroll right to the end for the list of seven things that friends and family can do to be of help to the person that is depressed.

 

Touch

Touch – David Whyte

Touch is what we desire in one form or another, even if we find it through being alone, through the agency of silence or through the felt need to walk at a distance: the meeting with something or someone other than ourselves, the light brush of grass on the skin, the ruffling breeze, the actual touch of another’s hand; even the gentle first touch of an understanding which until now, we were formally afraid to hold.

Whether we touch only what we see or the mystery of what lies beneath the veil of what we see, we are made for unending meeting and exchange, while having to hold a coherent mind and body, physically or imaginatively, which in turn can be found and touched itself. We are something for the world to run up against and rub up against: through the trials of love, through pain, through happiness, through our simple everyday movement through the world.

And the world touches us in many ways, some of which are violations of the body or our hopes for safety: through natural disaster, through heartbreak, through illness, through death itself. In the ancient world the touch of a God was seen as both a blessing and a violation – at one and the same time. Being alive in the world means being found by the world and sometimes touched to the core in ways we would rather not experience.

Growing with our bodies, all of us find ourselves at one time violated or wounded by this world in difficult ways, and still we live and breathe in this touchable, sensual world, and through trauma, through grief, through recovery, we heal in order to be touched again in the right way, as the physical consecration of a mutual, trusted invitation.

Nothing stops the body’s arrival in each new present, except death itself, which is intuited in all cultures as another, ultimate, intimate form of meeting. Nothing stops our ageing nor our witness to time, asking us again and again to be present to each different present, to be touchable and findable, to be one who is living up to the very fierce consequences of being bodily present in the world.

To forge an untouchable, invulnerable identity is actually a sign of retreat from this world; of weakness, a sign of fear rather than strength, and betrays a strange misunderstanding of an abiding, foundational and necessary reality: that untouched, we disappear.

Excerpted from ‘TOUCH’ From
CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte: Now Available
http://www.davidwhyte.com/consolations.html

Nature as the antidote to modern life: Why it’s so good for us!

“Imagine a therapy that had no known side-effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost? It exists, and it’s called ‘interacting with nature.’” – These words come from a study run by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, US professors of environmental psychology, known for their research into the effects of nature on people’s health.

For those of us lucky enough to live in Cape Town – here is some information on nature therapy and some ideas on how to  interact with nature  on Youth Day tomorrow.

10 Toxic Habits that Drain your Energy

As you all know, I am at a stage of transition and flux and need to re-invent parts of my life.

I have just had a 3 month gap period doing quite a lot of travelling. It was fantastic and unsettling, but now my new life needs to begin.

It is a wonderful opportunity for growth – I have the opportunity to begin practicing new habits, work differently, take up new hobbies, and interact with different people. For the first time in a very long time I am able to put myself first – and that is very liberating! I know that there are going to be difficult and challenging times ahead, but I also know that with the great support system I have, that those times will pass.

Tim Maurer says: ‘The nature of life’s major transitions – specifically the changes and surprises that come with them – are a breeding ground for failure. Some are inconsequential while others come with great risks, but most come as a result of our limitations. We err, and in order to move forward we must extend grace to ourselves and to the others on our journey’ 

Mark Chernoff writes about 10 toxic habits that drain your energy. These are great to apply to your everyday life –  but I believe even more important when you are in a stage of transition.

 

To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life

There are times in our life when certain segments of our life just get neglected. That is happening to me at the moment – I have a huge to do list that is just not being done. If I was my own coaching client I would have fired myself by now – but I need to take account that the timing of some of my tasks is not right and I need to surrender to it.

What I have done though, is a lot of sitting with friends that I love, having conversations about the state of our hearts and our souls. There is a lot of heartache going around at the moment so they have not been conversations filled with fun and laughter, but they have been really important – much more important than my to do list.

In her article To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life Jamie Varon writes that “we need to show up as we are in this moment and let that be enough, we change when we want to change, and we put our ideas into action in the timing that is best.”