The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

Doing Our Best

your best

We hear a lot of platitudes about how we should be seeing and responding to other people: as if they’re you; as if they might be having a bad day; as if they are your beloved incarnate; as if you can’t imagine what they might be experiencing and why; as if they’re doing their best.

While I’m not suggesting closing our hearts to others, I’m suggesting that we live that gentleness right here at home first.

Okay fellas, hang in with me through this part. You’ll relate, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first: Most months, every twenty-ish days or so, I start to notice a physical and emotional buzzing in my body. I relate it with hormones and my good old friend PMS. Oh how we have a love/hate thing going! Mostly hate, yeah, most of the time, but for little treasures like today’s post, sometimes the love peeks through.

Who’d have thought one could have love for something like PMS, where patience is down the drain, where righteousness is at its peak, where fatigue and weeping take the lead and everything seems so-much-more-dismal than on other days? And, listen, this isn’t just for the ladies who go through these hormonal changes. Or only for women who do (yes, there is that rare female who somehow escapes the wild ride of PMS). It’s for everyone because I know everyone has moments! We all do!

So, what if, when our rage-i-ness, our irritability and short temper and judgments flare up, they’re met with a pause and some space? What if we turn toward ourselves, right as that “Fuck you, I can’t stand you!” thought comes up when we see a post on Facebook that annoys us or when fear comes when we don’t know where we’re going to live next and our lease is winding down (I’m living something of the like currently!), and we pause? We rest, just for a few seconds, and let the thoughts rip, let the energy blaze through the body, and we see in them our own innocence.

We have such expectations on ourselves that we be kind, generous, compassionate, friendly and understanding, and sometimes that’s just not the case! So can we be free to relax into exactly what’s coming through, thereby tapping into the heart of true compassion? From where I sit, this is where the heart lies.

It seems for us nicey-nice types, this is an unwinding and allowing that can take some practice. And there’s great, great benefit in practices like Living Inquiries that get us into the direct recognition of the innocence of all of this coming through, however it appears. So, even if you’re experiencing hating yourself, you can still touch this compassion within that. See that you are doing your absolute best, no matter what.

I feel that it’s this generosity toward ourselves in our direct experience that fosters that outward love, that universal generosity. But I warn against mental generosity, whether toward others or toward ourselves, if that’s not what’s truly felt. How often have you said or heard someone else say, “Well, I know that he’s just doing his best,” when inside you’re thinking, “Screw that guy! I hate him!”

Again, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to fan the flames of negativity, but I’m trying to give it its day — its honest and authentic day.

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch with my roommate chatting and I took offense at something she said, and out of my mouth came the words, “So fucking what!” And then I felt really awkward because I might have misunderstood where she was coming from or maybe I didn’t, but I wasn’t comfortable with my snarkiness and its accompanying words. Through a mix of my scrambled apologies and continued righteousness, went on with our chat. We were talking about wanting help, in fact, and she said that that’s just what seems to be coming up for everyone right now. And I agreed and said, “Yes, along with my hormones!” With which I know she can relate, and all went on without further incident.

As always, don’t take my word for any of this. Instead, take a moment, no matter what’s coming up, and see for yourself. Is this moment, full as it is, failing at anything? Isn’t it doing its absolute best?

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