My friends, we persevere.
It isn’t always easy. This is the nature of life. We enjoy the giggles. We do our best to avoid the shit. Sometimes, we laugh so hard that we step right in it.
Oh life. How do we accept both the shits and the giggles?
Over the last few months, I noticed in myself a deep desire to persuade others to laugh with me. Like everyone else, I smelled the shit. I wanted to share joy in those places where emotions, thoughts, and behaviors were locking it out. I wanted to relieve some of the shit.
I may have tried too hard. It’s a pattern I know. I can be pushy. Check out the adamant love poems of 33 conversations if you need confirmation. And please laugh with me, if you like.
My intentions are good; that’s not an excuse. It’s a reminder to think carefully about the best way to express my good intentions. Sometimes, this means a fair bit of editing. When I hear someone expressing views that are distasteful to me, I don’t need to be the one who pushes back. I can be the one who expresses thanks for a point of view I don’t often consider. Or, if I have considered it, I may share my happiness that someone has made the hard choice of arriving at an opinion. I may even share an honest prayer that their conviction serves them well for as long as it must.
Because, after all, haven’t we all found ourselves in that clumsy moment when life presents a lesson that challenges a long-held belief? Haven’t we all stumbled and suffered from our attachments to thoughts, ideas and forms that no longer suit us?
In my experience, and please feel free to share yours, my learning has never followed someone’s aggression toward me. My learning escalates when I’m accepted and understood. I learn when I let my defenses down.
Sometimes, my best teachers have persuaded me with a gentle and compassionate silence.
These days, in the hullabaloo of politics and pandemic, rioting and race, some of us are trying to understand how best to create peace in our worlds. Some of us may simply be reeling in its absence. Both are fine. A decent balm to soothe the weary souls of either/or is an occasional, intentional quiet.
Silence isn’t a familiar practice for most of us. We may even associate it with loneliness or isolation. A practice in silence asks for your commitment. You host the silence for yourself. You welcome it, invite it within and listen to what it shares with you.
Consider setting a time this week when you commit to a period of quiet. Be kind to yourself. Start with 20-30 minutes. See what happens. And prepare yourself appropriately.
As someone with a partner, I’m careful to share my intention to be quiet. I want my partner to know I’m not escaping or ignoring; I let him know I’m going to be silent for a certain period of time. He can rely on my return and he’s welcome to talk to me in my silence, as he likes.
I enjoy taking a walk during quiet times. I practice smiling generously when someone wishes me a good day. I practice smiling generously when someone doesn’t. Either way, I’m quiet. And in my silence, I hear how most of my thoughts remove me from the experience before me. I let myself move more deeply into silence and learn from the peace there.
We are all in the adventure of a lifetime. It will last through your very last breath. Sometimes, in silence, we can appreciate it a little more completely. Sometimes, in silence, we learn how to carry its peace into our every expression on this adventure.
We share peace in both the shits and the giggles.
May you feel peaceful. And thank you for being you.