The life-changing in-betweens…

It has been so long since I wrote in this space, that today when I looked at the title of my blog:

Dharma notes…

…about life, being a Mom, and all the craziness and life-changing awesomeness and the in-betweens!

I realized that right now is the life-changing in-betweens: a period of uncertainty that is also be life-changing. It is difficult to witness the changes in our lives and those around us, especially those who are struggling to keep their livelihoods and their lives. When we encounter the stress of living with uncertainty, in ourselves and others, quoting Sylvia Boorstein, how can we be anything but kind?

Kindness can come in many forms. One way I’ve been mindful of practicing kindness is by paying attention to my speech. What am I bringing into this world through my words and action? The Buddha’s advice regarding skillful speech is to practice speech that is truthful, helpful, kind and timely. It is something that we have to keep holding in our minds and hearts. Are our words timely and helpful, rather than fearful or blameful. Do they help others? Are our words necessary? Sometimes silence can be more helpful than unkind speech. How can we practice non-judgment towards others? And can we hold ourselves with compassion as we navigate this all new terrain of living our lives within our homes and practicing seclusion and solitude.

I have been thinking of this zen poem recently:

My daily affairs are quite ordinary;

but I’m in total harmony with them.

I don’t hold on to anything, don’t reject anything;

nowhere an obstacle or conflict.

Who cares about wealth and honor?

Even the poorest thing shines.

My miraculous power and spiritual activity:

drawing water and carrying wood.

Layman P’ang

So simple, this instruction in mindfulness. next time you are washing dishes or cooking for your family, when you are zoom-ing or working out, can you be in total harmony? Being present is the antidote to a frantic and anxious mind. We train to keep coming back to this moment, to the daily affairs so ordinary, to the poorest things that shine. And we do this with gentleness and compassion.

May we all abide in loving-kindness, and may be abide in the clear mind that comes from practicing skillful speech,