Tonight my friend Karen and I went to hear a woman named August Gold speak. She was amazing. She is a Unity minister, has a congregation in NY called The Sacred Center. She has also studied Buddhism and the talk tonight was on accepting our burdens as gifts, that inside our burdens are the greatest gifts. She talked about Pema Chodron - that she feels she is our most important teacher of Buddhism now and how Pema encourages us to sit with all the feelings, whatever they are, to not move away from the difficult stuff towards only the good stuff because we miss out on the gifts that come from going through the pain, sitting with the pain. She quoted from the Tao about your life unfolding exactly as it is supposed to - even with the losses, the terrible jobs, the illnesses, the deaths, the divorces, the rotten girlfriends, whatever. She talked about the evolution of birds - that when they got wings and had no idea what to do with them, they felt like a burden to them, like what are these things we have to carry around? Until gradually they realized that they could fly.
At one point, she says to the audience, has anyone gone through difficult burdens and realized that there are gifts inside them? So my hand goes up involuntarily and she immediately sees me and says, "Great! Stand up please." I didn't expect that, I just thought I was saying "Yes!" And the next thing I know there's a microphone in my hand and I'm talking about my mom and the divorce and how it's all been a great gift because my heart opened up, I feel so much empathy, and spiritually fed, more alive and filled with gratitude for all the friends who rallied around me, all the love. I don't even remember what else I said really, but she was excited. And I mentioned that I'd read Pema Chodron to get through a lot of the difficulties and she asked which books, and I said, "When Things Fall Apart" and "The Wisdom of No Escape" - then she mentioned the birds again and I said, "Oh, yeah, and my name is Robin," which got a big laugh. She was very articulate and inspiring, and considering I have a few more hurdles to deal with, it really helped me to look at them as opportunities for growth and change. And also to remember that there will always be "burdens" and challenges as long as we are alive and to look for what the gifts are in going through them.
Wherever you are, resistance doesn't really help. "I accept, I accept" is so useful.