Igor is away on retreat. Im so happy for him, after experiencing a time of struggle there's nothing more useful and healing than having that undisturbed, long stretch of silence to focus the mindheart and look exclusively inside.

Its a bootcamp style silent one, there has not been and will not be for another week any communication, which means that I have also gotten my own home-style mini retreat.
I socialize very rarely so when Igor is away interaction automatically gets replaced with time of reflection where I am able to pay closer attention to thoughts, feelings, and how they dance with life, and that, although not as formal and uninterrupted as what Igor is undertaking, feels very welcome right now.

I recetly read an extract from an article about Pema last week that highlighted a very simple but useful teaching.

Enjoy your life.

It's written on a sign at the entrance of Gampo Abbey, the monastery where Pema is the abbot and although it looks as the kind of simple everyday encouragement that could easily be found on any refrigerator door, it is in fact a very clever teaching that lately is giving me a lot of food for practice.
It's a motto I heard from many grown up voices in my youth, my senior influences got an almost wistful longing in their eyes as they imparted that piece of advice to my novice self and I lived almost religiously by it, did my best to squeeze life by the balls and went out of my way to secure myself an awesome life situation as far from the usual that I could think up, and in many ways I succeeded, But what I didn't know, couldn't know, back then, was that no matter how adventurous your life situation is, you are still bound to get claustrophobic doubtful and scared, cause even the most ass kicking lifestyle will not protect you from the precarious nature that life with its natural decay brings to the table.

These days I recognize in the teaching a profundity that my younger version couldn't see.
"Enjoy your life", is a compass pointing towards radical open hearted acceptance of whatever life presents in any and every given moment. It is not a slogan encouraging you to go out and get a new better life, but one that invites you to look for love in the choices and commitments that compose yours, even as hours and weeks pass by without a hint of freshness. So in this mini-everyday retreat I have been given I practice enjoyment. I enjoy the shit out of my cooking, spurred on by a new sparked interest for all things culinary through none other than Gordon Ramsey. I enjoy the stretches of time when I can sit outside and feel the warmth of the winter sun, I melt from enjoyment when my baby laughs and the touch of her hand at night before she goes to sleep, well that is about as enjoyable as it gets...

Enjoyment feels very mature, it is not really joy which has a more bursting at the seams quality, it's more like joy being encapsulated, an implosion rather than an explosion...

As I attempt to change the chip from asking enjoyment out of my experience to being the one bringing it, I constantly run into resistance: procrastination, rush, impatience, dislike, disappointment...by no means a novel "frenemy", but still when it rears its ugly face, an annoying one .

I have learned though, by much trial and error, that whatever you resist really does persist and I find myself enjoying cultivating a more tender bond with these moments of dislike, have adopted a sort of playful interaction with it and it is paying off, it moves on with greater ease.

I hope that the saying 'Whatever you resist, persists' does not apply to Donald Trump. I unfortunately a nagging feeling that this natural law is applicable even in the case of this dangerous presidential menace... I completely get the waves of hate going in that direction, am certainly not immune to those strong feelings myself, and I am not having any clarity in terms of what else we can do but resist and revolt, but It doesn't stop me from thinking that there must be some intelligent way that we could treat this particularly difficult symptom without being pulled in to that same vortex of ignorant insanity and hate. Just imagine if we could figure out a way to treat the Trump issue with the same kind of more objective investigation that we treat the Climate issue. Gather knowledge, data, make in depth enquiry and experimentation so we would have a broader picture of exactly what we are dealing with. A picture much broader than dislike and resistance.

Maybe we can even one day look back and find enjoyment in The Donald and his crazy gameplan, maybe one day this infected period will go down in history as the time when we all stepped up, changed the game and evolved. Maybe he and what he represents is an opportunity in disguise...

Imagine if we could resolve this current state of tension and move forwards with a greater sense of unity in a similar way that humanity was saved and conflict resolved in the movie Arrival, (BTW a great movie for those that haven't seen it). Arrival tells the story of humans and aliens meeting in one of the most undramatic ways ever depicted on screen. The heroine and the one who ultimately ends up saving the day is the translator, linguist, communicator, who is brought in to, in cooperation with other linguists from across the globe, find a way to decipher the alien language. As so often happens when we attempt to communicate with those we perceive to be very different from ourselves, there is a misunderstanding, conflict ensues and war almost breaks out but our communicative heroine at an important juncture in the movie understands that the symbol we thought meant weapon, in the alien language really meant tool.. A significant difference in interpretation which when translated into action of course hugely changed the outcome of things...the difference between war and unity...

So although I can't see it clearly, I have a feeling that the small conversion from dislike to enjoyment I attempt in my small universe must have a similar application in the bigger picture of fear and division I these days see in the world around me and at times acutely experience myself.

Make love or make war with life, not always such an obvious, easy choice as it may seem on paper, but maybe if we work towards untiy it will prove to be that opportunity in disguise... In the end it is truly up to us. Let's try to enjoy the ride.



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