Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wanted: a Toehold

We are here; the last day of May 2009.

How many months need to come to a close and a new month begin before I can get a "toehold" on anything?

Buddhist teaching would remind me that all this "toehold" business is about "grasping" and as long as one enjoys that particular frame of mind, being stuck will be a matter of course, predictable and self repeating.

I read Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart last week; read it in a day hoping to absorb the words and impact my thinking. The following day when life threw me yet another curve ball and I couldn't deal, I flung the book across the room. It hit the closet door and dropped to the floor, unharmed. How can I be this far along in life and be regressing into a lightless cave? Has life peaked and I'm on the down slope? How does one change the chemistry of the mind, the tight hold that our thoughts have on our experience?

May did not bring me a toehold. June won't either.

Impermanence. Change. The. Fleeting. Nature. Of. Everything.



  1. Oh I HEAR you. I hear you and you're not the only person struggling with this. I don't know that it makes it any better, but it does for me when I learn I'm not alone, whatever that feeling may be.

    I did watch Lousie Hay's movie of You can Heal YOur Life... material I read in my 20's... but just recently I watched it, and I felt a visceral shift in the act of watching. Some kind of hope swelled up in me that indeed life hasn't peaked... Maybe it would do some good.

    When you can't get anything stable in a day a week or a month, it might help to just go for smaller incriments... one moment at a time, one step at a time, one 15 minute chunk of time, one task at a time.

    Complete something you start-- eating a bowl of cereal, folding the dish towel, canceling some unnecessary appointment or returning one e-mail, sitting down to rest, listening to one great song (or two), because you can start making something solid out of those little things. You have to do a lot of self talk and back patting over such things... but they count now. At times like this, those ARE accomplishments... and a way to feeling more stable when all around you may not be (and hasn't been)for a while. Does that make any sense?

    I am always amazed that after all the work and wisdom once can achieve, it's still possible to feel so completely unmoored at regular intervals. What I do know for sure, is that all things DO pass and indeed change.... including the shit days, and weeks and months. So I revert to passing the time until they do in the smallest increment that I can manage, and do everything I can to move myself forward. I have had days where I ask myself, what can I do that's good for me in the next 10 minutes... Flossing, good! Drink glass of water, good! Take a B vitamin GOOD! Do a yoga stretch, bum shoulder and all, GOOD! Throw out today's junk mail, wash one dish...

    And I do that and it builds and digs me out eventually.

  2. I like Sydney's advice and that's the sort of thinking that has gotten me through some very tough times.

    Now I want more. Like you, Kate, I have read many books on the topic. In fact, that's the second reference I've seen in a week to Pema's book, which means I need to pick it up. I will continue to read because I need the support I get from other people's experiences.

    I am going to try working from the inside out, too. I am reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, and she says it is imperative to write "morning pages" every morning to discover our creative selves. I have said for months that there is a part of me that is closed off and if I could just get to it....I think I've found a way to work through my sadness and frustration - get it out on the page. Then I can make room for what comes next. The 1st of June seems like as good a time to start as any.


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