I had a tough week last week. I'm in-between leases and that means I'm sleeping on a mattress on a floor in a big empty apartment. Oh, and there's no internet. So I've been staying late at work to keep that sweet sweet connection to the outside world.
And after a weekend of being at the receiving end of a lot of hateful words, I'm barely keeping my head above water.
But the important thing is that I am. And I will continue swimming.
But in the meantime, the Universe and big guy upstairs have been sending me a lot of messages in various forms.
Last month, I ordered The Pocket Pema Chödrön at the recommendation of my lovely friend Mackenzie. I had forgotten about it (thanks Deustche Post strikes!) but it finally arrived last week, and couldn't have come at a better time.
Last night, as I crawled into bed--erm, onto the mattress on the floor--I felt a panic attack coming on and reached for the book as a distraction.
Then I opened to the following passage:
HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR
Once there was a young warrior.
Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.
The day arrived.
The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.
The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”
Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”
Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”
In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
It read it over and over again until I finally felt like the attack had passed. And then I thought about all the fear I'm facing at the moment and it felt a little less scary.