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This Sane Idea: Cocked guns

“This Sane Idea”
by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Let your
Intelligence begin to rule
Whenever you sit with others

Using this sane idea:

Leave all your cocked guns in the field
Far from us,

One of those damn things
Might go

Off.

A weeping yogi

       A weeping yogi

“The yogi weeps because the world is profoundly sad, they say, and someone has to always be weeping for its sorrows, so that you can be joyful. Hand-carved in Bali, these yogis take your pain so that you can enjoy life. Known for their gentle, joyful spirit, the Balinese believe that sharing your sorrows lessens the load and sharing your joys helps you grow: so share your sadness with the yogi and share your joys with those you love. Holding his head in his hands, the yogi seems to be saying, ‘If it’s too much for you, please share it with me. It’s why I’m here. It’s what I do.’ Some feel that the yogi has either just moved into his pose of sadness and sorrow, or is about to stand up in happiness and joy.” 

Bypassing anger

“Healing doesn’t take place until we surrender to our feelings and allow them to wash over us.” —Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause

When you’re angry or hurt, do you say, “I shouldn’t complain. After all, other people have it so much worse.”?

Women do this a lot. Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause writes: “Many women downplay their pain by comparing themselves to someone else who is much worse off.” She calls it “bypassing anger.” We tell ourselves that it’s selfish to feel sorry for ourselves. We shove our own pain aside to deal with the problems of others.

I felt this way last year when I lost my dog, Sasha. I really missed my dog. I work from home, so she was my shadow every moment of the day. I felt like I’d lost a limb. But, in the last few years, several of my close friends lost spouses. How could I voice my grief over a dog to someone who had lost their life partner? How selfish would that be?

One day, a friend who had lost her husband asked about Sasha. I said something like, “Oh, I really miss her, but I shouldn’t complain. After all, I know it’s not the same as losing a spouse.” She said, “My loss doesn’t make your loss any less real.”

Now, that’s a friend.

I breathed a long sigh of relief and surrendered to full grief over my little doggie.

“Comparing our path to that of someone else invariably takes us away from our own emotions and what we need to do with them.” Christiane Northrup, in The Wisdom of Menopause

If you hear yourself saying, “I shouldn’t complain. After all . . .”, stop. Catch yourself in that moment. Surrender to whatever it is. Allow your grief, your anger, your hurt to wash over you. Let the healing begin.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have empathy for the pain of others. It means you’ll be in a better place to support them.

Sasha's dog collar and my Weeping Yogi

Sasha’s dog collar and my Weeping Yogi

A Weeping Yogi

During our March Break ski trip to Whistler, BC, while my family frolicked in thigh-deep Pacific Powder and I did—not, I visited The Oracle (More than just a store . . . an experience!). While there, I made a purchase which I tucked away in my suitcase to take home to put in my office.

On the day we returned home, within hours—before we even had a chance to unpack—we learned that our close friend, Lynn, had died that morning.

Laden with grief, I unpacked my suitcase and came upon my purchase: a Weeping Yogi.

His card reads:

“The yogi weeps because the world is profoundly sad, they say, and someone has to always be weeping for its sorrows, so that you can be joyful. Hand-carved in Bali, these yogis take your pain so that you can enjoy life. Known for their gentle, joyful spirit, the Balinese believe that sharing your sorrows lessens the load and sharing your joys helps you grow: so share your sadness with the yogi and share your joys with those you love. Holding his head in his hands, the yogi seems to be saying, ‘If it’s too much for you, please share it with me. It’s why I’m here. It’s what I do.’ Some feel that the yogi has either just moved into his pose of sadness and sorrow, or is about to stand up in happiness and joy.”

That day, I held the little wood carving in my hands, and damned if I didn’t feel a little better.

I’m not sure what compelled me to pick up the yogi, but in the past three years I’ve lost two of my best friends (ages 46 and 47, for Pete’s sake), my brother, my mother-in-law, and my dog. To add insult to injury, we even lost the Dairy Queen in our neighbourhood, so I can’t even inappropriately self-medicate with hot fudge sundaes anymore.

My cynical friends will say that it’s just a piece of wood. They’ll say its effects are the result of a psychological mind game.

Yep. It’s a piece of wood. Yep, it’s effects are a psychological mind game. (But then, isn’t everything?) All I know is that, this past week, I picked up that piece of wood and held it for a while, and then I wrapped my dog’s collar around it.

Damned if I didn’t feel a little better.

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