When we remodeled, we created a small room intended to be a guest bedroom. We had planned to put in a trundle bed. However, when we rerouted our heating system, we had to place the door in a different spot, making it impractical for a bedroom. Yes, if we need to, we can put in a cot of some kind, but for now we have made it a reading room, with two comfortable chairs and a lamp table in between.
Today I stopped joking and used the room for that purpose.
I’ve written before about how I work with fear, depression, and anger — I prefer to “dance” with them, or “invite them to tea.” However, lately that’s been easier said than done. A recent interpersonal conflict has disrupted my work, and I’ve held so much tension in my jaw that I broke one crown and dislocated another tooth (yes, I’m getting a mouth guard). It’s been a painful experience in the midst of an otherwise idyllic life. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything more about it than that. Let me just say that some people have WAY too much time on their hands.
I’ve taken appropriate action on a practical level, but I’m more concerned with what’s going on inside of me. How can I dance with this? How can I take this situation to tea? I can’t change the actions of others. I can, though, change my response. I can find inner peace. This time, though, I need a little extra help!
Enter Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict by Tsultrim Allione, which provides a five-step meditation technique known as Chod.
Allione is a former Buddhist nun who runs a retreat center in Colorado. Like me, her life was cracked open, and its trajectory radically altered, after the death of a child. Like me, it took her three marriages to find her true partner. Reading her words, I find the wisdom of someone who has “been there and done that,” who understands my inner challenges.
I went into my reading room and, iPad next to me, went through the five steps. Even with having to look at the instructions, I still had a profound experience. Here’s a summary: