Had a neat experience on the Toronto subway one day last week.
I’d had a not-particularly-relaxing morning at my friend’s place, trying to pull off everything I needed to do that day & figure out how to manage to still get home. Didn’t manage to figure it out, but hopped on the subway to go across the city for the errand I had to do.
Pulled out my Pocket Pema Chödrön, a treasure of a little collection of words of wisdom from Buddhist nun Pema C. that I always have in my knapsack.
On page 60, in entry # 38 (called ‘No happy ending,’) she quotes her teacher once saying to her “I don’t know why you came here, but I want to tell you right now that the basis of this whole teaching is that you’re never going to get it all together.”
This makes me laugh with a giddy sense of relief every time I read it.
Then I read #103, ‘Keep Standing Up’ & her line “How come I’m not living in a Walt Disney movie now? I thought I was going to turn into Snow White. How come I’m not living happily ever after?”
This cracks me up every time.
Pema has me/us so nailed.
These insights don’t upset me – they un-hinge me – in a good way. They make me feel so free.
I’m messed up. I’m not perfect. My life is not perfect. (The world is certainly not perfect!?) & I’m NEVER going to “get it all together” (or, if I do ever feel as though everything is pretty darn cool, it never seems to last for longer than about 10 minutes).
So there I was, after a morning of feeling kind of tense & frustrated, with Pema making me smile & almost laugh out loud on the subway car. Feeling as free as a bird.
I wanted to read selections of her brilliant short essays out loud to my fellow subway riders – make them laugh too!
I wanted to have 100 copies of The Pocket Pema Chödrön & hand them out to EVERYone.
Thank you, Pema Chödrön.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
p.s. I also own copies of Ms. Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times & The Wisdom of No Escape And the Path of Loving Kindness – both treasures.
p.p.s. & I just used some of my birthday book gift certificate money to buy … more copies of The Pocket Pema Chödrön (great gifts!!) & also a copy of her 2009 collection Taking the Leap – Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears. Another keeper, big-time.