Podcast Roundup #3: Sadness & Jack Kornfield

Just a Podcast Roundup of one this week, but it’s a Jack Kornfield filled basket of joy… and sadness, because that’s how I roll.

rainy desert scene
When did we move to Seattle?!

I had every intention of writing this on Sunday morning, but… a mood persisted and here I am on Monday, writing Monday’s post. And I slept in this morning. And it’s raining… again. Ugg. Man, oh man, am I in a mood!

What mood, Michelle? Speak to us!

I will, because I know you, my dear blog reader, are much more “aware” than my average Facebook friend. Yes, you’ve become my talk therapy as well as my blog “follower.” Welcome, and thank you for the services you provide.

I’m sad. I can attribute it to many things, but I’ll say the truth is, I’m JUST sad. For no reason. And I know sad passes, so I’ll let it. I’ll welcome it in, give it a hug and let it stay until it feels like leaving.

When I opened up my Tao Te Ching today, I read these words and smiled:

“If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.”

That is exactly what I am today, partial. And that, for once, is ok with me. Might make some people crazy. Might make some people attempt to fix it for me. But I don’t need it. I wrapped myself in a big hug, got another cup of coffee, and sat down to read more of The Idiot, which by the way, is continually losing me and then I find the plot trail again, only to be thrown off. Who is talking to whom?! Jeepers! Stick with a thought, man! And the names! I found a list of characters on Sparknotes. That is helping.

I’ll be writing more about Dostoyevsky later, but today, that Podcast Roundup of one that I promised you!

It’s early in the week for it, I know, but I listen when I’m driving, and this weekend I had much driving to do. And why only one? Because I was happy and alert on the way there, ready to listen and take notes.  I had a long playlist ready and waiting. On the way home, however, I was happy and hungover, so all I did was focus on driving, quietly, with a bottle of water.

Yeah, part of the “let yourself be partial” thing. We all make mistakes, and this was a fun one I paid for all weekend, not because I drank THAT much, but because I’m old-er and not so quick to recover.

What was that podcast I listened to? Let me see… oh, yes!

The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish: Jack Kornfield: Finding Your Inner Calm

Let me get my car notes here… Hey! I finished filling up a journal! Sweet!

jack kornfield notes
There’s always deciphering to do when I write while I’m driving.

Ok.. holy wowsers… you gotta love this. My first note while listening to this podcast Friday morning was, “be… whatever emotion comes up, don’t run away and try to get rid of it. Make space for it so it becomes a visitor instead of a resident.”

See… the teaching IS sinking in. And here I was thinking it was all a waste of time.

“Nothing is personal.”

Yeah, I know, Jack. I keep trying to remember that and most of the time I do, but sometimes the child in me just wants to scream and cry, “Be nice to me always, even when you’re upset and angry. I should come first! Everywhere and at all times!”

Good luck with that attitude, right? Realizing that everyone else has those thoughts and feelings at times of conflict made me suddenly so much more compassionate. What do I want when I’m having those feelings? I’ll be that for others. Someone has to go first.

Another thing he expressed during that interview made me smile and laugh out loud, LOL’d for realz. He, even though he’s been practicing and teaching for longer than I’ve been an adult, also gets angry at drivers when they are aggressive or get in his way. What?! Yep. He gets upset, and then remembers the teaching and wishes them well.

His point was that we all are born with a different temperament. Accept yours, use the teaching, and move on. I’m a reactive person, excitable. That’s great when I’m happy and positive, not so much when you have gotten in my way or pushed my buttons. Should I tame that? Tamp it down? Never react? No. It means, I know who I am, what my temperament is, and I don’t let it rule my thinking.

Yes, I’m excited that zoo in another state is so awesome. But do I want to move there and take care of animals? No.

Yes, you have bugged me in ways unimaginable. But do I want to escalate the argument and wound you? No.

And it goes back to the “being partial” thing again. I’m not perfect. I’m me.

Other quick things:

“One thing at a time.” Slow down.

“Most of your thoughts are repeats.” Like a playlist. That thought will come around again. That’s how the brain works. We don’t need to act on them all.

“You are awareness, consciousness.” You are not your body, your thoughts, your age, or any of your demographics. When we slow down and experience our consciousness, through mediation and practice, we remember who we are.

That one reminded me of when my grandma died years ago. One evening she was there, even though she was not conscious to us. I held her hand and felt her presence, comforted her. The next morning, she was gone, when I held her hand I felt nothing.

Our bodies are not who we are. There is not a part of me that I can lose that will make me not Michelle anymore. Our stuff is not who we are, neither is our “identity.” If I were not a mom, wife, desert dweller, lover, daughter, friend… I’m still Michelle. And our thoughts are not us, either. If I they were, I could never change my mind and still be Michelle.

We are consciousness, awareness, and forever changing. And when it is all gone, our bodies decay, our stuff gets thrown away or redistributed, and our thoughts cease, then what? I’m not sure. Some religions say there’s a world after this, some believe we are reincarnated, others think nothing, that this reality is all we have. I know one thing for sure, my children and everyone else that lives after me, keeps all those memories we made and takes them into the future. Everything we experienced together shaped who they are today, and influences who they become in the future, so in a way I live on.

Funny, I’m not so sad anymore. But it’s still raining outside, so I’m not happy about that.

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