Welcome to January!!!
Three Thoughts for Thursday
Quote or Passage I’m Pondering and Appreciating:
“Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
I’ve noticed over the last few years, January is a tough month for me. This year, I’ve been working to see January differently, to reframe my attitude of disdain towards January as the doldrums to an attitude of peace and opportunity to dig deeper. I’ve acknowledged the holiday hangover that occurs, and how the month of January feels like a bit of a letdown. The days are dark and short, the weather is cold and dreary, and I feel especially dark and gloomy after the rush, hustle, bustle and festive brightness of the holiday season. I typically am always on the go, always moving towards the next thing, and really only slow down against my wishes.
In my last email of 2019, I paid homage to winter as a time to go inward to reflect, repair, rebuild. I am trying to continue this practice to release myself from the struggle of January. I often think of suffering as being caused by a longing for and/or dwelling in the past combined with a focus and striving for the future, solved, I am learning, by simply being present. So, rather than suffering through January this year, I am setting my sights on being present and embracing the moment, acknowledging the struggle and surrendering expectations. Surrender, that is what I am doing, surrendering to January and to the wisdom of going deeper. On this journey with me is the wisdom of Thich Naht Hahn. Here are two passages from the book I note below, that have been sticking with me during this (literal) winter storm that has caused me to spend more time than I’d like to indoors.
When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If your mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness. That’s why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day.
I Have Arrived
We believe that happiness is possible only in the future. That is why the practice “I have arrived” is very important. The realization that we have already arrived, that we don’t have to travel any further, that we are already here, can give us peace and joy. The conditions for our happiness are already sufficient. We only need to allow ourselves to be in the present moment, and we will be able to touch them.
~ Thich Naht Hahn
Podcast I’m Listening To:
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris: Episode #43, Judge Jeremy Fogel, Using Mindfulness on the Bench
About 20 years ago, Judge Jeremy Fogel was serving as a superior court judge in California. But when he felt that it was causing him a lot of stress, he started looking for a way to center himself, and found meditation and yoga. Shortly after he started practicing, he was nominated to become a federal judge and said meditation became a refuge for him. Today, Judge Fogel continues to practice regularly and touts mindfulness as a powerful tool judges can use to help with their decision-making. He is currently serving as the director of the Federal Judicial Center.
Book I’m Reading:
In December, I mentioned I was looking forward to receiving this book for Christmas. I am excited to feature the book again as I have now opened it and it has not disappointed. I have been grateful for the daily dose of inspiration.
Bringing the energy of true presence into our lives really does change things for the better—and all it takes is a little training. This treasury of 365 gems of daily wisdom from one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers of our age is a help and support for anyone who wants to train to meet every moment of life with 100 percent attention. Thich Nhat Hanh shows how practicing mindfulness can transform every area of our lives—and how its benefits radiate beyond us to affect others and the whole, larger world.