What Would Pema (or Eckhart) Do?

<August 7/14> So, I’m feeling annoyed with someone for … um … doing something really annoying. I even knew ahead of time this person would do this very specific annoying thing, & had told myself to not bother being annoyed when it came to pass as I’d predicted.

But I am annoyed. Or, well, I was.

Until I put myself through a mini-Pema (Chödrön)/Eckhart (Tolle) workshop on this morning’s walk.

I was batting it all around in my head (the being annoyed, the internal argument), & then all of a sudden I heard my mind say, “What would Pema (or Eckhart) do?”

& I figured they’d probably think I was just indulging myself in a little drama (we humans DO love our dramas, that’s for sure), & basically letting my little old ego get the best of me.

That made me step back a little & start looking at the whole thing from a bit of a distance.

I realized that as long as I was walking along & staying stuck in my little drama, I felt angry. The anger was not resolving, or dissolving – if anything it was getting bigger.

I'd walked by some candy wrappers on the sidewalk & given them a vaguely angry look. Normally I’d probably have picked them up to throw them in the next garbage can I spotted (I don’t try to clean up the whole neighborhood or anything, but I do do my helpful little bits here & there), but I was too darn busy feeling annoyed.

& gradually it came over me that we all do annoying things to one another from time to time (just show me someone perfect, hmmm?)

& I recalled Eckhart’s great insight about ducks who’ve had a set-to & how they just “flap their wings” & go on about their business.

& after I’d decided to just flap my own wings, I started really noticing (as I usually do) the neat yards I was walking by

Lots & lots of very pretty flowers

& yards with no grass, just plants & hedges & ground covers & so on.


Walking is just such a tonic, I tell you.

It really, really is.


p.s. with many, many thanks to Pema & Eckhart, for their wonderful insights & wisdom & humanity & inspiration.

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Epictetus says that everything has two handles, one by which it can be borne and one by which it cannot. If your brother sins against you, he says, don’t take hold of it by the wrong he did you but by the fact that he’s your brother. That’s how it can be borne.” – Character in Anne Tyler’s novel Noah’s Compass

Bonus quotes:

“Holding onto a resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott in Crooked Little Heart

“It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most, it’s making a big deal out of the little ones.” – Jean Webster