The other day I was driving down the road thinking, “I just can’t take this for one more minute!” Then of course, I answered myself with “Of course you can, and you will, because you always do – there is no exit ramp, no way out, no way off this roller coaster.”
I imagined walking on a tightrope with little clumps of jagged broken glass on the rope. The shards of glass were transparent, and squinting didn’t make them any easier to see, so each step was precarious – anxiety turning my legs to stone and causing the creases around my eyes to deepen.
I wondered what it would be like to fall, to allow myself to let go.
I did it, and landed safely in my seat, still buckled in, in the parking lot of Whole Foods in La Jolla, California.
Just then my phone rang, and I looked to see who was calling to decide whether to pick up. I generally don’t reach out when I’m feeling like this… but it was my college roommate, a woman I love and respect.
“Hi, I’m glad you called, but I need to tell you that I won’t be able to be any support to you on this call,” I said.
“I’m calling to support you!” she replied.
Phew! That was the Universe dropping a gift to me just when I needed it! We chatted for 45 minutes and she not only had a compassionate ear, but also some helpful action steps that I could take to gather more support.
I was in the parking lot of the Whole Foods because grocery shopping at that store is a form of self-care for me. I was hoping that standing in the produce department would bring me joy, as it so often has when I’m feeling low. The produce didn’t disappoint! It was gorgeous, and it lifted my mood a bit.
While considering the dizzying array of yogurts, my phone buzzed again. I smiled to see the name of a colleague from northern California and happily picked up the call. We chatted briefly but deeply, and with humor, because this guy always brings out the humor in me.
“Life is so crazy on a macro level in our country and the world, and on a micro level with me personally; but inside my heart, I’m okay,” I said in amazement.
“That’s your resilience,” he replied.
My resilience is my Godsend.
My resilience is hard won from years of practicing with excellent evidence-based teachers from the areas of mindfulness, meditation, mindful self-compassion, neuropsychology, neurobiology, positive psychology – and I’m sure I’m missing some other “ologies” out there who have given me help and hope and healing.
Mindfully chopping the veggies in my kitchen was therapeutic, and the gazunkta pot of soup I created was balm for my soul. I made enough soup to have 6 cups to tuck into the freezer for the next time I need a warm embrace, which I know is coming.
Everything changes – the good feelings pass, and the bad feelings pass.
People come into our lives and leave our lives. People whom we love leave the planet. The concept of impermanence is a practice that I have been trying to integrate for the past decade, with the help of text study from Buddhist and Jewish traditions.
As I was stirring the soup, inhaling the steam and looking at all the different colors, while feeling my breath going into my body, and out of my body, I learned the tragic news that Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed, killing all nine souls on board.
“Life turns on a dime” is often quoted, and always true. It’s these devastating events that wake us up to the truth of our fragile tether to this planet. I think we need to keep this awareness on the back burner in our mind, so we can move through the world feeling safe. At the same time, this kernel of knowledge slowly simmering back there may enable us to live each day with more gentleness, love and forgiveness.
May you be safe, happy, healthy and live with ease.