There should be no shame or guilt in my eating. It is in the stories I weave of need, of loss and pain, where the suffering sets in. Stories of worthiness, of import. Stories based in anger, fear, and greed…towards the outside world and more strikingly towards myself.
Sometimes our stories weave together and then again we may just appear odd to one another.
So, we hold a space for each to simply taste, receive, be grateful and full, where there is no longing…no gaps to fill, no stories to write or rewrite,
where the order of eating is founded in mercy, grace, and love.
A stirring, an imbalance, an unthinkable happens and there I am…swirling in thoughts and emotions.
Although we seem unconnected, we are tethered undeniably to others’ experiences, their pain, their suffering, their anger. Their division and righteousness becomes mine, even when I don’t want it to be.
And then comes the arduous task of sifting. Sifting through the messages in all of this…not what it means to my community or the statement it makes about my society, but the fundamental lesson for me in the perceived tragedies and suffering that stand before me.
I dare not admit how my thoughts flow in circular motions…how I cannot point at the right or wrong…it all just seems to come back to me, to the fear I have that any one of them could be me.
These labels belong to my deepest shadows and like threads dancing on a loom, have long since been woven into the fabric of me.
So, I turn my anger to the scariest one in an attempt to cut that thread. And then the story unfolds, my experience is defined by calling out the grossest attributes of others although deep down inside I know they are still undeniably tethered to me, undeniably me.
It is then that I must fill with compassion, for each of them and for me. I must allow these situations and the contrast they provide to take me back to the center of my being, to turn inward and calm the swirling from the inside. Instead of needing the contrast to tug at the fabric from the outside as if separate from me, I turn inward to reweave the threads, to smooth the snag so that the fabric on the outside lays out more seamlessly.
Each time the contrast begins to pull and tug at me again, I slow the loom, treasure that thread, and remember that no matter what any of us have done or who any of us seem to be, the threads are the same – it is a complex fabric that tethers you and me.
Compassion, peace, and calm cannot be forced. One cannot demand that someone be compassionate. One cannot command peace and calm. Rather, one must model it, live it, and know that the path to peace in ourselves and others is a steady process of balancing ego and replacing envy and judgment with love and inspiration. And that is the hard work that we must individually choose to do.