Radical Self love -Lessons from Pema Chodron- The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World.


Radical self acceptance, compassion and unconditional positive regard for the self in an
age that thrives & economizes shame are means that alchemize the self and connect with
the now. The radical in us is the part of our authentic self that is not subservient to the
cultural whims that demand bartering pieces of ourselves for societal acceptance. The
radical is in not disowning parts of ourselves that are not celebrated by society. Self
acceptance in essence means holding a non judgmental stance. Tara Brach calls it “…an
agreement with ourselves to appreciate, validate, & support ourselves as we are, knowing
that we are also free to change things if it makes sense.” In trying to break the shackles of
perfectionism one finds the freedom to be. “When perfectionism is driving, guilt is alwaysriding shotgun, and fear is the inconvenient backseat driver,” says Brown, describing
perfectionism as an armour. That perfectionism is highest in the areas where we
experience shame is how she succinctly explains this. Shame, per Brown, is the swamplandof the soul.

Pema Chödrön’s Self-Love Advice is the wholesome warm blanket one adorns when
seeking shelter as we go. Coming home to ourselves means being aware of the causes of
our shame. We must communicate with ourselves like we would with a loved one. We
must get in touch with someone we can trust and tell them our experience. Shame
cannot endure being addressed and treated with compassion. According to Pema
Chödrön, “The area of the squeeze is the very point in our meditation and in our lives
where we might genuinely learn something,” in her article “Three Methods for Working
with Chaos.” The place where we can’t decide whether to accept it or reject it is, in fact,
quite fruitful. She continues by advising us to envision what happened—whatever caused
this humiliation for us—and to simply be present with that untainted and gentle energy.
“We begin by battling the monsters in our heads. Then we have the knowledge and
empathy necessary to interact rationally with the dangers and fears we face every day. Go
where you find it revolting, assist those you feel helpless to assist, and visit the areas that
terrify you.”

Chodron’s story teaches us how to navigate when the inner critic inflates & creates
conflict. When grappling with shame & fear how does one find peace. She uses the
metaphor of tigers above and below & the present moment, if embraced allowing for self
acceptance –

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are
getting closer and closer.
When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on tothe vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a
mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch ofstrawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She
looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it
thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our
birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might
be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally
appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

~ Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

 

Tigers above, Tigers below.

SONG WISDOM:
Too bad, but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong
You know you can’t always see when you’re right (you’re right)
You got your passion, you got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied? Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true (Oooh)
When will you realize…
Vienna waits for you?-

BILLY JOEL.

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