Earlier this month, Oprah hosted Tibetan Buddhist nun and one of my favorite speakers/teachers Pema Chodron on her Super Soul Sunday show. On the show they talked about embracing difficult feelings like anxiety, stress, anger, and sorrow, and using them as opportunities to open up rather than what most people do, which is repress them or run away from them. They also talked about welcoming fear as a route to fearlessness. Although these ideas may seem totally counterintuitive and frankly, a bit nutty, to many people, I know from personal experience that they have helped me to be more open and flowing in a world that is constantly changing and not always going the way I want it to (does it ever? :)).
I love how Pema just oozes warmth and no matter where she is teaching, seems to always be speaking directly to me. She herself has been through so many “real life” tough times and she is able to speak with such accessibility and humor that it’s hard not to connect with some part of what she’s saying. Pema is a teacher in the meditation tradition that I practice (Shambhala), and the organization that The Tasteful Pantry is a sponsor of. We at The Tasteful Pantry truly believe that mindful living (including mindful eating!) can be a way to combat aggressiveness to others and more importantly, aggressiveness towards ourselves. Why not make friends with ourselves and treat our bodies and minds with kindness and care?
I truly admire Oprah and Pema for their bravery in suggesting a path that may seem scary or counterintuitive to what most of us naturally do (run from tough times!), and for me, having a regular meditation practice has helped me to train in doing this and in finding the joy in every moment. So many of us think that to be happy, we just need that better job, better boss, bigger house or nicer car, but as Pema says, we each already have what we need to truly experience joy. Meditation helps us discover this for ourselves. It’s not easy but it is simple, and in the end, helps to shed a new light on the way we relate to our emotions and other people. Above is one of my favorite clips from the show, but you can watch the full episode HERE. Enjoy!