Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Should is a Red Flag That a Lie is Being Told

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

18079659I heard the words in the title to this post uttered by Anne Lamott as she was interviewed for OnPoint. She has a new book: Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair.

She begins, “One rarely knows where to begin the search for meaning, though by necessity, we can only start where we are.” An invitation to mindfulness, to be sure.

What if you wake up at sixty and realize you that you forgot to wake up and now your hair is falling out?

The search for meaning is as old as humanity. It showed up on the cave paintings and it can be found in everything we do as humans. The Buddha pointed out that some of our constructions are good and some not so good. That it would behoove us to endeavor towards good construction in body, speech, and mind.

What caught my attention in listening to Lamott on the radio was her insistence to turn towards grief and not away from it. She noted that our culture is phobic around pain, grief, and loss. I agree. We are clueless.

I picked up this book knowing that there would be a fair share of god and religion. There was. Not offensively so, but enough to create a distance for me, mostly in the earlier part of the manuscript. She gave the caveat that she is not talking about any god in particular but of love, and I am alway suspect when authors do this (Julia Cameron does something very similar in The Artist’s Way; not surprisingly, both of these writers are in recovery). The caveat is usually preceded with a barrage of god this and god that. I could have done without the story of teaching Sunday school. To each her own, I will grant. After that, the god talk diminished.

Still there is much wisdom here. Principally the necessity to turn towards the pain in our lives instead of away. She tells stories. They are unassuming yet steer you in profound directions. At times, I found myself wondering where she was going and why I was reading this seemingly self-indulgent yarn. Admittedly, she tells a good story and her life is interesting enough. Yet, she was leading up to something. An “aha” at the end of the story.

The book is a reflection on finding grace and connection in the misfortunes of life. It teaches how “maturity is the ability to live with unresolved problems.” You can read it’s 96 pages in a sitting, if you are so inclined. .

 

 



  • http://louellabryant.com Ellie

    I agree with your appraisal of Anne Lamott’s themes being a bit pietistic. But I’m a bit muddled about how the title of this article relates to the message. I’m not clear about what turning toward grief has to do with the “shoulds.” But maybe I’m clueless.

    • http://exquisitemind.com Dr. Arnie Kozak

      The title is something Lamott said in the interview. She talked about multiple messages. One is that “shoulds”are lies. Remember, don’t “should” on yourself. The should in this case was probably on the point of one “should” be over grief after a certain period of time. She thought that was untrue and I agree.

  • http://louellabryant.com Ellie

    10Q

Previous Posts

Mindful in Relationship: The Biggest Spiritual Challenge We Face
Our closest relationships are often the most challenging places to be mindful. We may be prone to feelings of unworthiness, superiority, and fear as well as a host of other feelings that push us around. When we can bring equanimity to our relationships we are progressing along the path. When we c

posted 7:56:20pm Mar. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Translating the Experience of the Moment
Whether we know it or not, we are all amateur translators. Instead of translating a poem from one language to another we put into words what previously existed without words: we translate experience into language. Mostly, we are unaware of this process and mistake our verbal productions for a ironcl

posted 8:37:57am Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

The Three C's of Self-Forgiveness
Imagine a situation where you "lose it." You get angry, your blood boils, you may yell at the person who has occasioned this anger or you may throw something or swear in vain. This feeling is no stranger to me. Sometimes, a situation catches us off guard and we react instead of meeting it with equan

posted 4:23:27pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Oliver Sacks Writes his Pre-Obituary
The neurologist and author Oliver Sacks recently wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times about his impending death and the light this news casts on his life. His reflections are the epitome of equanimity. What we hear from him is not anxiety, rancor, or regret but rather gratitude, love, and reso

posted 2:23:00pm Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Getting Out of Our Own Way: Finding Liberation in the Moment
If you are like me, you spend more time than you would like caught up in imagined stories that don't feel good and keep you stuck. How can you get out of your own way and stop beating yourself up with regrets. My mind can sometimes get stuck and I'd be in big trouble if I didn't have a mindfulness p

posted 7:44:24pm Feb. 23, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.