Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Meditation, Radical Acceptance and Gratitude Leading to Joy out of Guilt

The most extraordinary thing just happened, and you should know all about it. I would not have believed it if you told me it could happen, all of about twenty minutes ago. 

Like every mother on the face of the earth, I know there are two or three things I could have, would have done better, if given a chance at a "re-do." I have always believed fate to be doubly cruel in giving us the power to regret and the power to remember, but nothing at all in the way of a "reset" or "do-over" button for those moments. And the real number of these little gems is closer to two or three billion, to be real with you. But you knew that. 

Here is what happened. I have given myself a two-day retreat, while still at home, but a break from the constant everything that makes my brain spin from worry and fear and stress. These two days are to delve into meditation, the books I have on mindfulness, healing of spirit and of self, and for quiet introspection. 

Today's first book, a water-logged, dog-eared, much beloved copy of Thich Nhat Hahn's "Peace is Every Step." I read until I came to what I needed to read and meditated on it for the rest of the morning. This is, of course, between sitting in meditation and doing laundry (this is a real home and not a hotel retreat center, after all). The passage was about a lost smile, and how everything around you is holding on to that smile for you until you can let it return. The lines; "You don't need to feel isolated. You only have to open yourself to the support that is all around you and in you." Sometimes, as the "head of household" be it mother or father, we take it upon ourselves to hold it all, hold it in, hold it together, hold ourselves apart, marked, separate and solely responsible for the mayhem and pain. 

The second book is brand new to me. According to my Kindle, I had previously read about 12% of it, but today I wanted to take the time to read it all. The title is "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach. The exercise that just changed me forever is about learning to say "yes". You sit with a difficult experience and allow the emotions of that to come to mind. As they do, you first apply denial; say "no" and keep saying "no", and as you do so, you remark how you feel; in your throat, your gut, the tightening of your eyes and clenched fists. Then replay the same difficult experience and say "yes", "yes" as the memories and feelings roll past you. 

Here is what happened next for me;  few minutes after this experience,  I had gone downstairs, to make tea. Of a sudden, all of the other memories that had happened at the same time, but were not associated with the many parenting mistakes I always dwell on, came rushing back in all of their happiness, peacefulness and joy. I had access to beautiful moments that my monkey brain had locked away behind the guilt for so long. My gratitude is overwhelming. 


  1. The song "Let It Be" comes to mind as I too have been feeling in the throws of Monkey Brain and regret/guilt.

  2. Je suis heureux que tu aies pu faire la paix avec toi même.


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