Dearest of People,
A hundred years ago or so, in the mid 1990’s, I was Director of Retreat and Renewal and Ongoing Programs at Kripalu. I thought highly of myself and my fancy titles, while sucking (a technical term) at the budgeting process and adoring the teaching and curriculum-building aspects of my work.
Thinking highly of myself did take vigilance, the ongoing saga of second-guessing my thoughts and actions.
Yes, I did exhaust myself.
I wasn’t as much of a political “climber” (we have had our share), as I was a massive people-pleaser. I just wanted You to like Me.
That was my style of management.
At any rate, for many years, we at Kripalu annually held a seven-day celebration called Saptah, which was a seven-day celebration, during which repetitive chanting of the mantra, Om Nama Shivaya, was offered 24-hours-a-day. Our Saptah, which means seven in Sanskrit, evolved from seven to three days, to accommodate the ever-changing Kripalu business model.
The Main Hall was decorated with awesome respect and over-commitment. Many people worked many hours of many days to hang lovely lights throughout the ceiling of that spacious room, and to create stunning altars along the walls. Each altar, as I remember, had flowers, pictures, and representations of deities.
The celebration was always a powerful and life-changing experience for many of us, certainly for me. Yet over time, it went to the way of-many–things-kripalu, too much effort, not enough monetary return, etc., etc., oh, God forgive us, etc.
In the midst of Saptah’s height, Alison came to me. She was a long-time Kripalu member of the ashram and in charge of Saptah, which was held under my auspices.
She held this Buddha in her arms.
“Aruni,” she said, “This Buddha is cracked.”
I noticed the fault lines running down her arm, the beginnings on one leg.
Yes, she was, indeed, cracked.
“Can you keep her in your office? I’m afraid to use her in the Main Hall.”
Hence this glorious Buddha was retired from Saptah-Service and sent to her room, well, to my room, ever since.
This dearest of Buddhas I have fondly dubbed, “The Buddha of Imperfection.”
Over time, as we moved from my office to my home, her fault lines have intensified.
As have mine.
Over time, she continues to be glorious and beautiful.
In a changing, body-sagging, aging kind of way, perhaps.
She reminds me of the futility of the search for perfection, for doing “IT” right, for getting You All to love Me.
Even Buddha has cracks!
We don’t have to change.
We don’t have to be Better.
We don’t have to do It Right.
We just have to show up.
We just have to do our best.
We just have to love ourselves
As we are,
And keep practicing.
Twelve Step program calls it “spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection”.
Pema Chodron, the wonderful Buddhist nun says in her book, Awakening Loving-Kindness:
When people start to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggressing against themselves…….but loving-kindness toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. It means we still can be crazy after all these years. We still can be angry after all these years. We still can be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves, not to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
It’s about befriending who we already are!
Buddha has fault lines.
Buddha has cracks.
OMG, do I have fault lines.
Do I have cracks!
I bet you have a few.
Terrified and horrified
To my news feed?
Am I hopeful and fearful
And humanly human
These wacky days?
Dear Friends, dear wonderful people,
Let’s put perfection to the side.
Let’s meet ourselves where we are.
Let’s be gentle and kind
These next days will
Let us be kind
I share my prayer with you:
I choose to love
Let us live forward,
Into this blessing.
This is the result of my search for inspiration for this week of October 18th. After scanning my internal experience and the outside world the entire week, this is all I’ve come up with: animals, wonderful and funny animals.
Indeed, this is a fantabulous video, three minutes long. You must watch.
Idea! Let’s vote! Let’s vote for our favorite animal combination. Have pen and paper readied. Write down the time marker of your favorite animal duo. Send to me, please at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Your first name
- The animal-pair that most cracked you up
- The time marker in which those animals made their appearance
I will tally the oodles of response and I will post results next week.
Consider this therapy for these pre-election days.
We can practice exercising our voting skills as we learn from the cooperation and dependency these animals.
I claim writer/editor rights: I cast my vote early— I vote for the cockatiel-parakeet-dog-team, at time 2:26 seconds. Look at the dog’s nose. PROMISE ME YOU WILL.
Dear friends, be safe and well.
With gratitude and hope—
- There will be no Wisdom Circle on Thursday the 22nd. We will regroup on Thursday the 29th, @ 2:00. You can get the link for that Zoom event here, on next week’s blog.