I came back from my travels excited to see my friend and reconnect and hear about how their travels had been. I reached out to say hello and was met with radio silence. Confused, I tried to pause and give some space but the feelings of being rejected creeped in. Being caught in these difficult feelings, I found myself grasping for wanting to be acknowledged and feeling frustrated that my closest friend abroad would act so inconsiderately. I reflected on traditional Buddhist teachings that I had recently heard about. The idea is that all things are not perfect, not permanent, and not personal. I had also heard people say “if you don’t like the weather here, wait a few minutes.” I found myself not liking the internal weather because it hurt. I resolved to try to be patient and let the storm pass and apply compassionate, kind actions to my life.
One of the compassionate actions was to go salsa dancing and it was like medicine. An hour of dancing got me out of that story of living in the state of lack. Another compassionate action was to play the team sport of ultimate frisbee. After the sport, I felt too tired to feel separate and it gave me some space to see clearly. It’s like the line I heard that “it’s impossible to feel lonely while zesting an orange.” These are some actions that I am slowly learning to take to meet the sorrows and shadows of life. I wonder what are your actions that bring you out of a funk or the dark places that we all go into. Of course, as a mindfulness practitioner and teacher, I ask how mindfulness can help with the changing weather of life. As I have found, a daily mindfulness practice can help attune us to relate to life in acceptance that it’s not permanent, perfect, or personal.
I reflect back on the strained relationship with my friend and realize that it’s not permanent. Perhaps they are going through a tough time which may pass soon or the fact that not all friendships last and maybe this is the natural end. In addition, the friendship is not perfect and will not always be roses, and challenges can actually be growth opportunities. Finally, the situation is not personal. There is a chance that they are going through some physical,
mental, or spiritual challenge at this moment.
Taking a moment to pause, see the incoming weather system of fear of losing a friend, and wishing myself and my friend well with compassionate actions is one way to approach a challenging situation. I will go to meet my friend in person this week and hope that these actions will help me to have a positive, peaceful interaction. Wish me luck, and feel free to share your strategies for self care and as always reach out if I can be of assistance with developing a mindfulness practice.
About the author:
Phillip McKnight completed a two-year training program for teaching awareness and compassion-based practices accredited by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Phillip has experience teaching a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, and abilities and uses his MA in Instructional Systems Design to determine the needs of the participant and help them develop skills in mindfulness meditation with tools for body, heart, mind, and community.