“Take what we love inside, to carry within us an orchard” ~ Li-Young Lee ~
We all have aspects of ourselves we find a challenge. It could be a habit we have trouble kicking. It
could be a deep sadness. Perhaps it is a body part we don’t like, an illness or condition that vexes us, or a pain that won’t go away. Maybe there are even parts of us we don’t even acknowledge exist – private, dark areas of our body and mind.
The practice this week is to befriend these aspects of ourselves. All of them. Simply that. To befriend these parts of our body, mind and spirit as we would a friend who was in need. When our beloved friend is in need, we bring them a cup of tea and sit and listen. We acknowledge them. We can do this with ourselves too. We can befriend ourselves. We can say, “yes, it is ok.” When I discovered I had osteoporosis, I took on this diagnosis as my identity. To change my relationship with my bones from one of an adversary to one of a friend, I gave my bones a friendly name, Huesitos. Whenever I meditate now, I think of bathing my bones in a loving, cool sea foam.
We need all parts of us. Give it a name: your bones, your voice, your heart, your uterus, your skin, your spirit. Whatever it is give this area a loving, kind word
The Practice: This week’s practice is a simple act of acknowledgment. It is fitting with the season as we head into Thanksgiving. You can do this anywhere. You can be sitting or lying down comfortably. I do this before sleep. As you lie down or sit, breathe deeply into your belly. As you breathe out, imagine a soothing light of whatever color comes to you bathing this aspect of you that needs tending. If it is an area that needs cooling you might imagine a blue light. If it needs warming, you can imagine warming rays of the sun or a color warm color that is appealing to you. Breathe in again, and out as you bathe yourself in this healing light. If you loose your focus or your mind wanders, no problem, just begin again.
It may seem like Pollyanna, painting brightness where it seems there is none. However, the brain science demonstrates how powerful our thoughts are to creating either a flood of stress hormones and negative neuron firings, or a more soothing internal environment (Hanson, 2013).
I’m in partnership with you on this journey and wish you ease.
~ Li-Young Lee ~
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the joy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. New York: Harmony.