Monday, June 25, 2012

Carried Away

You wake up in the morning & hit the ground running.

As you brush your teeth, you worry about the presentation that you have to give at work today.

In the shower, you wonder about the engine light that just came on in your car & worry about where you will find the money to fix whatever is wrong with it.

You half-heartedly pay attention to the story your child tells you as you frost the cupcakes for her class party that worry that another parent's cupcakes will be better & wonder why you volunteered to bake them in the first place.

Driving to work, you check your emails, make a few quick calls, a go through your to-do list for the day...errands, bills, shopping for a friend...where will you find the time for everything & everyone? 

"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone & everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times" - Thomas Merton

Work is work - you have to do what you have to do.  Bills need to be paid - there's not alot of way around that.  You care about others & want to help. 

There will always be a multitude of things & people that you can worry about.  There will always be things & people demanding your attention.  When those demands & worries take over your feel stressed, worried, angry.  You lash out at others, eat too much (or not enough), drink too much,'s the opposite of bringing compassion into the world (which is what you want to do when you offer to help someone).  You add to violence & the chaos of the times.

You have a choice.  Succumb to that violence or cultivate compassion - be present & breathe.

Every time you get on your mat, you have that same choice.  When you move through a challenging practice - you can get angry & frustrated at yourself & the teacher & the class & the world.  Or you can cultivate compassion, for yourself & others.  You can be present & breathe.

When you're present - you're calm, grounded - even if everything going on around you totally sucks.  You're not off & running through your day, worrying about where you have to go & what you have to do.  The bills won't go away, your boss & work won't go away.  But you feel your strength & cultivate compassion & breathe through those challenges as you move through them.  (You might even find yourself enjoying frosting those cupcakes with your kids).

You can succumb to the violence or cultivate compassion.

Cultivate compassion.

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