liliesKind promise: I will be tender with weaknesses.

In the morning I feel good… Until I try to move. My legs and right arm are paralyzed, which means that when my brain sends them a message to move, they don’t. I simply don’t ask anymore. Until recently, my left arm did was asked of it. These days, it responds clumsily. When I move it, it feels like it’s under water. Much more effort is required than used to be. Each morning begins with a wash of emotions.

My amygdala comes galloping to the rescue: fight or flee, it advises. If I’m not paying attention, Big Emotions start tumbling one over the other. I scramble to respond.

Through meditation practice, I am learning that no immediate action is necessary. Big Emotions rise and fall and I can watch and breathe through them. But sometimes the difficulty and bother will not be breathed away.

That is when I want to lean into my discomfort with tender curiosity. The dictionary reminds me that tender is soft, delicate and kind.

  • What am I feeling? Grief, anger, fear…
  • What need do I have that I perceive is not being met? I want to be useful. I want to take action
  • Are my perceptions correct? These needs are old songs with booming resonance from my childhood. Usefulness is actually not required. Consider our old dog who sleeps her days away, plays for a few minutes each evening, and is loved. Consider the lilies of the field, who neither toil not nor spin
  • Is there another way to get my needs met? What about being instead of doing?
  • Who do I want to be in this situation?

Because returning to this last question has been so useful in the past, I spent some time developing answers and keeping them posted near my workspace.

I am seeking to celebrate a sacred, compassionate, creative life.

When I feel helpless and discouraged, it’s often because I have fallen into the trap of long-range thinking.

When I bring myself back to the present moment, I discover I can choose joy, beam love or breathe peace.

Bringing tender curiosity to a difficult moment, I move forward with peace and joy.