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permission to go overboard

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fear“Will I ever conquer these fears?” I asked after an episode of reactivity when, during a staff meeting, I spoke unskillfully, only to realize later that the words had come from an old place of fear. Fear to be excluded and, more specifically, fear that my temporary job will end any day.

“I don’t know about conquer,” replied the voice of wisdom, “but before anything, I suggest you learn to be with fear, to get to know uncertainty, and to witness what arises as you consider losing this job you love so much.  To accept is to welcome. To welcome does not mean to condone or to approve–but to accept what presents itself. And to be gentle and patient towards yourself and to notice how the discomfort is compounded when you let the Inner Critic rule your thinking.”

“Since real intimacy always leads into unknown territory,” writes John Welwood,

“we find our way only by trial and error. As we leave behind old, familiar way of being and move towards new states of balance, falling into one extreme or another is unavoidable along the way. So we must give ourselves permission to go overboard sometimes, if we attack ourselves for going off course, we cannot learn from mistakes and use them as part of our path. Therefore cultivating gentleness with ourselves is essential for fostering inner growth and development.”

source: Welwood, J. (1991). Journey of the heart: intimate relationship and the path of love. HarperPerennial, p. 28. image: http://www.corbluth.co.uk

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3 responses »

  1. ah yes, we hold such high expectations for ourselves! What’s that all about? And boy we can use the Dharma as a weapon against ourselves. When I see myself doing that one I realize what a twisted little pretzel I can be sometimes.

    A cyber hug to you!
    Carole

    Reply
  2. dear cyber-bretzel,

    what surprises (bugs!) me is the continuing leaning towards dualities: stupid OR clever, winner OR loser. It doesn’t happen when I’m feeling equanimous — but wait till doubt invades the heart, then all bets are off and all i see is the bottle’s half-emptyness.

    i hope i’ve mixed enough methaphors to make this simple point :-).

    Reply
  3. seeing the bottle half empty?

    The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

    -Winston Churchill

    Reply

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