Often I find myself in situations in which I need to question my version of reality. In addition to being a writer, speaker and interfaith minister, I work in a psychiatric hospital, serving people with various mental health diagnoses. From them, I have learned the power of resilience, survival through life challenges, surrender and going with the flow~ Often, I am challenged to rise above my own frustration with not having answers for people in need. When I was in seminary, one of the deans reminded us about the ‘ideal’ of being “spontaneously available.” I refer to it as ‘ideal’, since I am not always in that place.
I remind myself that I can best be available to my patients and frankly, anyone else who crosses my path, by stepping back and asking questions, rather than being ‘the answer woman’. My friend and co-worker Peggy Tileston offers a query to the folks in this way: “Even though (fill in the blank…I have an addiction, I am an abuse survivor, I feel depressed, anxious….), I can still (again, fill in the blank…be productive, take care of myself, experience happiness….)
An inspiring teacher named Cheri Huber; who is founder and resident teacher at the Zen Monastery Peace Center in Murphys, CA. and the Mountain View Zen Center, offers wisdom in the form of a reality testing question: “Is that so?” When I am faced with monkey mind chatter that threatens to knock me on my tush, I look in the mirror of my heart and mind and reflect on that idea. Is it so, that I HAVE to feel a certain way in a particular situation? Is it so, that at the age of 52, my life has to follow a pre-determined pattern? Is it so, that I need to have such and such ingredients in the recipe of my existence, in order to be a happy camper?
In this moment, since this is all we have, I invite you to ask those important questions and then step back and really LISTEN with the ears of the heart, for your very own answers.