Friday, April 28, 2006

Works in Progress

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I think it’s fair to assume that we are all works in progress. So what are you working on? What part of your life or practice is at the center of your attention? Are you working on patience, compassion, integrity, humor, vulnerability, or something more or less important? How does that work manifest? What does it look like in your life on a daily basis?

I stole this idea from Peggy at Zaadz because it seems like a fertile topic for discussion -- and maybe a way to learn new practices from each other.

So here’s mine, as posted at Zaadz:
I’m working on two things right now.

1) Gratitude, with a daily post at Integral Options Cafe. Learning to be grateful for the good things, big and small, is starting to change my outlook. I am no longer obsessed with the pain and injustice I see around me (though I’m not ignoring it), but I’m beginning to find the beauty and goodness in life. This is a huge shift for me.

2) Vulnerability, with my partner Kira and through my Buddhist practice. Like many men, I was taught not to be vulnerable or feel vulnerable emotions. This is such a horrible thing to do to our boys. To have and maintain a healthy relationship, men must have access to those soft, tender places within them. This is also what Chogyam Trungpa taught is important to one’s Buddhist practice in Shambhala: The Sacred path of the Warrior.

The combination of these two practices, among my other integral practices, is the focus of my work right now. The process can be painful, but the results are nothing short of amazing.

Please share what you’re up to in the comments.

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Anonymous said...

I'm working on not "hedging my bets." I realize I view the present moment (and situation, and people in my life, etc.) with a certain suspicion or skepticism or belief that it'll all worsen, or vanish or betray me in some way. So I pack my emotions away into the distance (though outwardly it may not appear that way) and spend all my time figuring out escape routes, contingency plans, and why "this" (whatever it is) probably isn't all that worthwhile anyway. A stupid and exhausting way to live. Your Pema Chodron quotes have been very helpful in identifying and countering this impulse; I clearly should pick up one her books. (Do you have favorite?)

Kai in NYC

Anonymous said...

I'm working on being more visible. Growing up in an abusive home, my survival strategy was invisibility. It was a smart move back then, but it doesn't serve me anymore. Being more visible is definitely relevant to launching my new career as a life coach and workshop leader. It's also very relevant to my relationship with you. I'm working to release old patterns of being compliant (staying invisible by denying myself and just adapting), as well as my "outta here" side--the part of me that leaves when it gets hard instead of hanging in there, speaking my truths, and hearing yours.

Anonymous said...

I also keep a gratitude journal. And I'm working at trying to slow down enough to view things honestly and with awareness rather than simply going into my typical knee jerk auto-response. Meditation helps immensely.

I really like your blog! So happy to have found it.

william harryman said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone -- I hope more people will share what they are working on.

Kai: I think nearly any of Pema Chodron's book are good, but I like When Things Fall Apart and The Wisdom of No Escape of the ones I've read so far.

Comfortable with Uncertainty is kind of like a "greatest hits" introduction to her writings -- all of the chapters are short and easy to use as meditation foundations.

Thanks, Kira, for that committment to yourself and our relationship.

arulba, welcome to the Cafe. Glad you like the place. I hope to see you around from time to time.