Welcome to Ask Gail–a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like my “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital.” Stay tuned for more…
Posts Tagged ‘Buddhist’
My friend Barbara L finds Buddhist wisdom everywhere (now that she is looking with beginner’s eyes), and Jane Fonda is no exception. Here’s her last response to Deborah Solomon’s interview in today’s NY Times (04-18-10). “…If you want to age successfully, you have to look back over the earlier part of your life and understand what it was about. If you can do a life review with a forgiving heart, your last 30 years will be quite transformed.”
I’m standing in the kitchen peeling hard boiled eggs. There are lots of birds singing outside. I hear the thump thump thump of the washing machine spinning just below me. The sump pump is reassuringly sucking the seeping ground water from the basement.
As much as I love to listen to NPR all day or chant to Snatam Kaur, these few moments of natural noise leave room for my own self to arise.
I remember Fred leading us both to yoga when we lived in Indianapolis—this must have been in 1971-1972. I remember seeing Jack Kornfield’s book A Path With Heart in Sue Sommer’s living room a few years later and rushing to buy a copy when I got home. I never read it. Instead, I devoured Sylvia Boorstein’s and Sharon Salzberg’s books. Ram Das entered our lives with Be Here Now and then there was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. My sister sent me “Sun Magazine” and, in the 80s, news from Maitri and Issan Dorsey in San Francisco. My mind was reeling and my heart was filled with possibilities.
And then I went back to sleep.
In 1993, I finally stopped smoking and went to Kripalu for the first time and again met the wisdom. This time it was Hindu chanting, slow long-held yoga poses, and the sweetness of Bhavani’s singing and teachings. Heart memories returned and I stepped onto the path. I finally read Jack Kornfield and the Dali Lama and then Thich Nhat Hanh. I turned more to my Jewish spiritual roots while also bringing Hindu and Buddhist teachings and practices in to my daily life. I had moments when I was awake.
Waking up is hard; it’s also unpleasant and unsettling and sometimes downright painful. It means feeling what’s going on inside of me instead of quickly reacting, blaming others, and feeling the catharsis of rage and anger rather than the depths of sadness and maybe grief. It’s learning to have compassion for myself so I can feel it for others, even people I don’t like.
Today I stopped and listened to myself. I wrote down what I was feeling and thinking before it was lost in the next thing that had to be done. I honored what was important in the moment.
And then I made egg salad and ate lunch.