Let’s say that you were talking on your cell phone, and all of a sudden, the line went dead.
Let’s say that, after struggling through the phone carrier website, and finally making it to the “chat,” you discovered that your account had been hacked, your phone service disconnected, and that you were the victim of fraud.
Let’s say that, in addition to the internal struggle of holding onto the “inherent worth and dignity” of the hacker, you had the external struggle of some 10 to 12 hours stolen from the rest of life over the following several days dealing with this mess, slogging through various byzantine processes with a variety of “customer support” folks out in the world (because your phone doesn’t work) whose advice and helpfulness varied widely.
Let’s just say that you had already been feeling pressured in the face of a long “must-do” to do list in advance of upcoming work/travel deadlines, amplifying stress.
There could be a number of results.
One of them might include consuming a large serving of bread pudding à la mode out of some combination of celebration (when the ordeal seems to be over) and pure self-pity over having gone through it at all.
Another result would likely be that the realization dawns that all your priorities have to shift. Some “must do” items simply won’t get done, and there it is.
In that moment there is always a choice: self-judgment and worry, or self-compassion and acceptance. I knew which of these I wanted. It took me a while to get there.
We can only eat life (or bread pudding) one bite at a time.
A lot of my struggle over the last few days would have been avoidable if I had remembered this sooner. A walk by the waterfront at twilight helped. Taking ourselves into the natural world, or any pause for the contemplation of beauty, is a spiritual practice that is almost always available, even if only in your mind’s eye. It always helps.
Dealing effectively with every obstacle or conflict in our lives comes down asking to: what is the one “bite” out of this situation that I am able to take now? And what do I have to let go of until I have digested that?
Chew on that until I see you after my return in a couple of weeks!
With You on the Path,