With Gratitude

I just finished co-teaching the summer MBSR class at the University of Missouri with Dr. Lynn Rossy. What a wonderful learning opportunity it was for me! I was very fortunate to get to work with Dr. Rossy, who is currently promoting her new book, The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution. I’ll be teaching the MBSR classes for upcoming school year and am already busy planning for the next class starting September 27th. The classes are offered through the employee wellness program at the University and participants are all employees of the University.
I’m always struck by the courage of the participants of an MBSR class. Watching people learn to turn toward discomfort instead of mindlessly attempting to avoid it is an exhilarating process for me. I will never grow tired of it. There is something essential and heroic about it. At first many people are bewildered to find that they are supposed to be curious about what’s uncomfortable for them. They signed up for an MBSR class to have less stress, not more. I find this initial confusion beautiful, actually. It is the blank canvass upon which a work of art is about to be wrought.
From the outset, this initial upsetting of habitual ways of being and doing is met with empathy and connection from the others in the class, many of whom are also feeling the rug being pulled gently out from under them. A safe container of practice takes hold and we all rely on each other to provide the whole-heartedness necessary to continue this path of fearless yet gentle exploration. “When we train our mind to embrace what’s hard instead of trying to get rid of it, we have begun to walk a path of growth, happiness, and true resilience. Our very difficulties and sufferings, if we hold them the right way, can be wedges to pry open our smallness”, says Norman Fischer, in Training in Compassion. Indeed.
GratitudeWatching people transform themselves is a gift, a true miracle. This is what we are capable of – meeting the vicissitudes of life in a way that creates connection and compassion. May it be so for all beings.

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