A quote from The Pocket Pema Chödrön
In 50 for 50 #11 (here), I wrote about the Mindfulness Meditation class I was taking and what I was learning about over-thinking. I have been a tenacious over-thinker for forever, and because this was my habit I believed that thinking harder and longer would solve my over-thinking problems.
Many of my thoughts revolved around the theme of not being good enough. I tried to force, cajole, and demand my way to changing this negative belief. If I achieved even a modicum of success it was short lived, and then the negative belief would roar back with a vengence. It took 49 years, but I finally figured out I needed a new approach. The class and reading material taught me that trying to solve negative thought patterns with more thinking begets more negative thoughts not relief.
To break this cycle, we practiced meditation. In particular, I focused on one called Soham Mantra Meditation. Soham is Sanskrit for “I am that.” The meditation reminds me that I already am peace. I already am love. I already am enough. Just the way I am. Pema’s quote echoes the lesson in Soham Meditation, a lesson I share here because I strove for a long time to find the intangible thing “out there” that would make me feel better. The truth turned out to be simpler. “In here” I’ve been enough all along. Instead of futilely berating myself I meditate, plant the seed, water it with more meditation, and allow nature to takes its course.
When I stopped looking at myself as a massive self-improvement project, the tenor of my self-care journey changed. Inside my "enoughness" was the peace and love I'd been seeking. It is still a work in progress--to believe, I mean--but being kinder and gentler with myself is one tangible result of my new approach, one that feels sustainable. Progress!