On my run this morning, I contemplated the freedom/independence “we” are celebrating as a nation today and instantly recalled this prayer of gratitude I posted for Thanksgiving on dhamma 4 mama*–my blog on parenting as a spiritual practice.
Given the complex history of the United States and the current political landscape where civil liberties of marginalized populations are continuously being threatened, there is no monolithic and concrete experience of freedom for all Americans. There’s a myth of a dream that is a nature to shift and transform just when we imagine it’s within reach.
My deepest sense of freedom came from committing to the bodhisattva path and taking refuge in the Five Mindfulness Trainings and in the Three Jewels in 2006. So today I embrace and celebrate my personal and subjective spiritual experience of freedom, which I have learned to cultivate and embody wholeheartedly through movement, mindfulness and meditation.
Today, may we appreciate this food
and remember those who are hungry.
May we appreciate our family and friends
and remember those who are alone.
May we appreciate our health
and remember those who are sick.
May we appreciate the freedoms we have
and remember those who suffer injustice and tyranny.1
I spent Wednesday morning in our tiny kitchen blanching, boiling, carmelizing, chiffonading, chopping, cubing, dicing, sautéing, seasoning, smelling, stirring, and tasting.
As I breathedin the swirl of pungent and sweet aromas from the herbs, vegetables and meat, I breathed out loving awareness and prayers of gratitude for the gift of being able to prepare and share a Thanksgiving meal with my family. My mate and I openly acknowledged that our blessings outweighed any minor irritations that come with hosting a holiday gathering: our good health, solid relationships, comfortable home, and modest but sufficient financial resources.
I quietly returned…
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“He who argues for his limitations gets to keep them.” ~ Richard Bach
Wow! To be “committed to stuck-ness”…
Such a powerful statement about an equally powerful position to be caught in:
gripped by pain, fear, anger, self-doubt, feelings of helplessness and defeat.
Constantly hearing the voice of the inner critic calling out our flaws and weaknesses. We wince and turn away. Our vision now obstructed, dimmed.
To reframe this question (to refresh our perspective and broaden the view) is to unravel what has us so tightly bound.
This is a timely contemplation for our practice of awakening the voice of self-compassion and love. This voice speaks in gentle and reassuring tones with discernment and wisdom.
We open our eyes to witness the illusions dissolve, remembering that what makes us whole and free is not always visible to the unskilled eye.
Yogic concept + practice of Pratipaksha Bhavana
This post was written several years ago. I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments…
From January 2010
I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen. I’m right-handed. I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there. I remember something my doctor said, “When you wake up, pay attention to what is working. Put all your attention on that.”
I scan my body. My left arm is great. Okay, left arm, show me what you can do. I reach to grab one of the headboard spindles, and use my left arm to roll over and hoist myself up. My left leg is working pretty well, too. I lean against the wall and drag myself into the bathroom. Home run. I may be right-handed, but my left arm rules.
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