May 15, 2013

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that…” ~ Louise Erdrich

Whether physically or emotionally, or both, no one gets out of life alive.

Life is rough stuff. Recently I’ve been wondering if I’m tough enough. And, luckily, service pulls me forward. Otherwise, I’d drown in hurt, in disappointment, in self-pity. Perhaps you’ve hurt, too. 

Life is full of love—heartbreak. Of laughter—and loneliness. Of casual, under-appreciated joy in community. Of bike rides in the sunshine, hurried and harried busy-making…and moments of just-this, say feet-dipping in the river. It’s a mixed bag of “good” and “bad” days, of true friends and opportunists.

The drama doesn’t matter. We can feel the solid earth beneath us. We can feel the heavens, above. We can feel our raw, ever-wounded heart, joining them together in friendship. We can extend such friendship not to one person—but to all. Whether it is treasured or honored or met or, more likely, not…that’s not our choice, or our responsibility.

Our choice is to continue to give, to be of service, to smile if we have to.

And yes, we have to. And yes, smiling is hard work. This life is not for the faint of heart:

And that’s because bravery isn’t a quality exhibited in easy times. To quote the famous philosophers over at Game of Thrones, bravery is an attribute required precisely when we’d rather chill at home.
Shambhala goes a bit further, of course, than Game of Thrones, into how we get there. Bravery and vulnerability go hand in hand—and both hold hands within the present moment. That’s not pretty spiritual talk: that’s to say that both are joined in practicality, in now, not in philosophy or “pretty spiritual talk.”
And it all ends and starts, in practicing being present: you know, meditation. Every day. Just a bit. Bit by bit.
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