Grow up or die trying. (previously unpublished)

Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

“If we find ourselves in doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question; Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?.” Pema Chodron. Comfortable With Uncertainty.

Sometimes I think that the only way the Universe can teach me how to “stay” as Buddhism calls it, is to stick me until I’m stuck. I’ve been stuck for a long time. At first, I thought stay meant just that; stay. Don’t move. Do not run. Don’t pass go, don’t collect two hundred dollars, go nowhere fast, nowhere at all. Sit. Stay. If that were true, I’d be Buddha because let me tell you, I’m the master at staying in a lot of things. A lot of my life is spent staying. I’m a pro. I stay hurt, angry, scared, lacking, doubting, guilt ridden, judgemental, controlling, presumptuous, assumptive, lacking, regretting, consumed, lost- I do lots of lost. I stay indecisive, which is close to lost, anxious, righteous, judgemental, self loathing, self hating, self defeated. I do lots of mean self stuff…So much staying that now I’m stuck in a lot of things- behaviors, types of jobs, financial insecurity, relationship yo-yo-ism, and my past…not to mention the fantasy of my future. You may think it ironic that a person who has so much staying power and stickiness, can’t pull off staying with other, more benficial things…And that’s when it hit me- those tricky enlightened beings! Staying isn’t sticking with anything…As Pema puts it,
we need to, “Perk up and lean into a situation when we’d rather cave in and back away.”

As it turns out, my staying is actually how I back away, except for quite some time now, I’ve felt as though I can only back away one step before I find a wall solid at my back. And then I step forward. And then I step back. And then forward. And then back. Cha, cha, cha. The staying I need to master is the forward step, followed by another forward step. I need to step right past what I’m reacting to and, how I react to it, while not clinging to either one of the habits I just stepped past. Staying is the “lean into” that Pema mentions- it’s a forward motion, leaning into the unknown and being okay with the groundlessness of the abyss below it. Lean and fall. Trying to explain it with words is so hard for me right now because to be honest, I’ve only done it a time or two and probably by accident. Staying by leaning is something which, like most spirtitual endeavors has to be experienced…Experience is key because you just can’t explain it and do it justice. Someday friends….someday. Quoting Pema one more time; “We can bring ourselves back to the spiritual path countless times every day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in the uncertainty of the present moment- over and over again.”

Thank God, something I can stick with.


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  1. #1 by Running from Hell with El on July 5, 2013 - 6:56 pm

    I am going to comment at length in private. Just wanted to say for posterity’s sake that I get this. And love you.

  2. #2 by foundedna on July 5, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    thank you. i love you too.

    • #3 by Trevor on August 2, 2013 - 1:58 pm

      You Sir, or Ma’am, just leaned right into naked reality by exposing your SAMENESS 😀 with us…

      I had a woman once challenge my “self-love” ..when I looked inside and saw how hideous I felt I was… I ran from her and everyone… I knew I could never, the I I thought I was..could never satisfy her so I ran
      (truth, is I already met her needs except for my own lack of self acceptance and self forgiveness were grossly apparent to her)

      So, I have been utilizing a similar cocoon type stay/calm/stillness

      What you did here was very brave and showing “self-compassion”

      I asked Tilopa in Loveland Park a question once
      “So, to get over my upset feelings about the way I was raised..I should have compassion for the struggles my parents went through as children that made it hard for them to parent with Love?”

      He very promptly and bluntly said “No, you need compassion for you.”

      As Ive now been practicing compassion for me my compassion/understanding/empathy for others is growing faster than ever…my ability to be at peace with the anger I held towards those who neglected and abused me is near Bodhisattva levels…well, not yet..but I can sense what a joy that would be.

      From Shad Helmstetter:
      How do I feel about this?
      How would I like to feel about this?
      How do I choose to feel about this?
      How do I feel about this now?

      *I came to this page looking to copy and paste a Pema piece about being upset at anger for controlling your friend instead of your friend

      Also, since being allowed to share… If you have free time listen to on YouTube some Krishnamurti videos or on the official website.

      He truly believed humans could be free of all suffering and did what I consider the very best to find the origins and cause

      “Make” a great day!

      • #4 by foundedna on August 2, 2013 - 6:08 pm

        Thank you.
        Tiny words to inadequately express my gratitude for the goosebumps had upon reading this. A shift- a scary, hold my breath-I’m not ready for that truth! Shift. I wish we could chat on the patio I occupy now in steamboat springs CO. I could use a good chat.
        Thank you.

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