When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

“Practicing loving-kindness toward ourselves seems as good a way as any to start illuminating the darkness of difficult times.”

Pema Chodron

My current personal development read is When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron.

Simply the title makes me think, in my best Chandler Bing voice: “Could there BE a better time to read this book?” Answer: Not likely. 

As we all practice social distancing and shelter in place there can be a connection missing with people outside our households. It may become very isolating and difficult to individuals mentally. I know, personally, I realized week one of social distancing in Pennsylvania when I became irritated and untethered when I did not meet up with my mom at a local park to walk that I needed to get some face time in to feel whole. The discovery has helped me to guide my plans for my future days, and possibly weeks, of distancing from other people. 

Practice maitri

As we cannot change our isolationist ways at the moment, and these feelings and anxieties over the current situation take hold, Chodron suggests an internal practice. It is called maitri or “developing loving-kindness and unconditional friendship with ourselves.” Quite frankly, there’s no better time to work on this than now.

In those moments where you feel like you’re going to claw out of your skin if you can’t get out of the house: Take a walk and perhaps meditate on the quote that started this blog post. Chodron, I believe, is insisting that loving-kindness for oneself is a foundation you want to check on, or even build, during these difficult, anxious times. 

Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun who has written multiple books!

Find calm in discomfort

Quiet your mind, listen to what your body is telling you and be your own best friend, at least that’s what I’m taking away from this amazingly refreshing and well-timed read. That means finding calm in these moments of anxiety and irritation and discomfort. 

Have you read Pema Chodron? If so, what did you think of her? If not, what does maitri or practicing loving-kindness mean to you?

Happy reading!

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