Saturday, January 8, 2011

Buddhist Pep Talks for January

Is it just me or is January a challenging month? After riding the updraft of the holiday season, visiting with family and friends, I always get a little melancholy in January. It's kind of classic, isn't it? There is the excitement of looking forward to the new year, writing about it in my journal and contemplating it and then it's here. And then comes the question what to do with it? The evenings are dark and quiet, the sweet treats have been put away in favour of a cleanse.

So I am thinking of what little Buddhist pep talk to give myself. So here are the things I have been reminding myself of: "Impermanence., I whisper, remember impermanence. It's the opposite of those little labels in the back of shirts that read "permanent press". While something may seem as solid as Arnold Schwarzenegger, they too shall pass. And observation moment to moment shows me the truth of this. I don't need to say to much else to little self on this subject, she seems to get this one.

Another thing I like to tell the little self is" self, you have a choice. You can spin a long strand of spidery thoughts or you can choose to see that cobweb as ethereal, spun silver, or you could just blow that cobweb away . You get to choose how you use your mind. Pop that tire out of the rut."

That melancholy that settles over me so snugly is simply the movement of the emotions. "Self, are you listening? You can be pulled down a long dark road by the chain of feelings or you can refuse to get on the bus. Just like at the department store of thought, you get to pick. Are you buying this one or not? " We are drawn to the arising of feelings, sometimes by a ferocious pull, perhaps from beyond this lifetime. Habit, karma? And yet one thing I remind the inward peeping little self, is that it can be a razor's edge, not pushing away what arises but not indulging it. We need to spend a little time on this tightrope to find our balance. "And did you throw out those rose tinted glasses, like I told you to?"

And so the feelings and thoughts about the time of year and how I feel come and go. I watch them like some personal little youtube video. There I am riding the horse. There I am falling off. There I am wishing I had a cup of coffee. And so it goes and it is really all just fine. I am grateful to be in the position to do this, to watch and learn and contemplate. And to keep company with my amazing companion, the Dharma.


  1. Yeah, those cobwebs of the mind and emotions can be sticky, keeping one in limbo, unable to move. January seems to be a transition time. I'm actually relieved to have the over-stimulation of the holidays over! For me it is about hibernating, remembering the abode of Stillness; spending more time in "the Cave" - settling and remembering who "I" really am, getting to know the Self again (as if she ever left!), seeing where the Heart wants to go, so I don't get trapped in those cobwebs. It feels like a time of deep rest, almost inner preparation...

    Wishing you a sweet transition with Dharma :) Christine

  2. dear carole, thank you for tracking your thoughts and longings. so familiar, and yet: where are they coming from and where do they go? in reading your post i'm reminded of the persistent duality of "me" and "self." they say that all's One, no separation; and that even that is a delusion. i'm thinking that it'll take more than one lifetime to comprehend such simplicity. be well on salt spring island. peter

  3. The evenings are dark and quiet, the sweet treats have been put away in favour of a cleanse.

    Perfect for is crawling deep into the roots of the 'womb-cave' being in the stillness dreaming the dream of the coming renewal of spring.

    Buddhist pep talks ... very good

  4. It's always so refreshing to get a pep talk sans pom-poms and flouncy skirts - or that evil-eye throwing coach archetype. This is nice. Much needed on a cloudy day filled with spidery tendrils of doubt.


  5. MeANderi -" a time of deep rest, almost inner preparation... " I sense this too. And now to lumber into the cave.

    Peter - wise, balanced words. And yes more than one lifetime for this to sink in at the blood and bones level.

    Merci 33 - It is true that this is perfect mode for January. I think it's about being patient and accepting what is for me. Thanks for adding to the pep talk!

    108 ZB - Having a chuckle over the pom-poms & coaches. Ah yes doubt, a visitor I am familiar with. Probably the originator of my January angst!

  6. I like your point about needing some time on the tightrope to find our balance. Nice mental image for having choices and the edge that position gives us.

  7. Beautiful Carole....I love this little helpful hint to self "self, you have a choice. You can spin a long strand of spidery thoughts or you can choose to see that cobweb as ethereal, spun silver, or you could just blow that cobweb away." I love the imagery of the ethereal spun silver easily blown away...just gorgeous.

  8. I think your feelings are understandable and normal - January is a hard month I think because it is supposed to be the beginning of a new year- new beginnings can be daunting- some of us, like myself, tend to add pressure to the month of January- like okay- now it is time to deliver..

  9. Wonderful entry. It's amazing what the power of choice can bring.

  10. zendotstudio - back from the rabbit hole of computer repairs! Thanks for all those who stopped by in my silence. Perhaps it is better that way. I got to witness and read the wisdom of your comments and not respond. A good practice in itself.

    Bows to you Gallery Juana, Laura, Layers & the spirit that moves me for your valued input!