COME AS YOU ARE.

‘There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth
that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable.
If we’re committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run;
we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.’
Pema Chödrön 

Maitri D

Pretty much 5 days a week i spend my mornings, firstly in self-controlled quietude, then, between the hours of 5am and 8am, head out to strength and condition train my clients/friends.
This, for me, gives me great joy and provides a sense of service, not only to others, but to myself. And as I continue to hack away at the unessentials my desire to build upon my humble start-up only grows – what that will be, what modalities and disciplines that will include, or exclude, is yet to be defined – it’s a joyful work in progress and I ain’t in any rush.

However, over the weekends the tempo changes somewhat – the exposure to uncontrolled and unfiltered external ‘stimulus’ is ramped up (especially this time of the year)…this is hospitality and where I’ve been earning my rent money for the the past couple of years, and will continue to do so for the next couple of months.

I’ve mentioned my waitering and hospitality work/discipline in previous posts, and again, just because I like to repeat myself, repeat myself – there’s a couple of joys that I glean from every shift I work in the this psychologically and physiologically hyper-demanding environment.
– An opportunity to meet new people and welcome back regulars, always with the intention of offering memorable service.
– Work with, interact and connect with a bunch of younger folk who I have the pleasure of working with – individuals who I’d rarely have an opportunity to hang with. And though we’re often decades apart in age, there are firm friendships (always being) developed, and quite often I received visits (from these “young folks”) to my humble abode where they’re welcomed with coffee and a chat.
– Hospitality, for me, is my real word practice-auditorium, where I can hone my philosophical and psychological skill-sets that I study, read and meditate on everyday.

During the week, when I’ve pretty much got complete control of my surroundings and environment, my life is, by my design, easy & uncomplicated.
It’s possibly viewed as being either very disciplined, or selfish, or even down right boring, if others were to look into day to day. I’m pretty sure no one cares, but the point is at this time is very much suits my purpose, and is very much the stabilising life-platform I’m using to nurture my own trajectory.

On the weekends though, when thrust into the crazy-arse public-domain of a busy restaurant, my ability to maintain my inner-calm, to be the best possible version of myself, via the philosophical lessons I’ve been undertaking, comes under direct and unrelenting fire.

And this is what I love most, at this time in my life, about the hospitality game, about being a ‘waiter’…a maitre d…is that I demand not only more of myself, but more importantly, I demand different ‘stuff’ from myself…and this frantic hospitality environment is the perfect forum that beautifully and brutally exposes all my weakness…and strengths of course

The point is not to change ourselves. the point is to make friends with who we are already
Pema Chödrön

Everything that I get frustrated at is mirror reflection of mehere’s me working out why I think what I think
Perceiving that customers (and fellow workers included) behaviours are annoying & frustrating, rude…or ‘impatient’, is actually a complete and utter reflection on me
Why?
Because the reality is, I do all those things, and probably more!
And here I am, getting all internally wound up and quietly criticising (this is where my passive-aggressiveness really shines) all these other people for exactly the behaviours I’m guilty of.

“Impatience” my peeve du jour…
I’m currently reading the inspiring book The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chödrön, and it prompted me to ask myself ‘why do impatient customers give me the shits so much’…I know, philosophical right!?

But for me, it’s important, because I was losing my inner-calm. And maintaining my calm is something that I think I should be able to manage, or improve at least.
Now thanks to Pema Chödrön’s book, and some quiet reflection, the ironic magnitude of my ‘reaction’ to impatience was not only comical, but provided me with an epiphany moment.

I realised the very thing I was getting annoyed at, is the very thing I’m doing to myself
It’s actually my own impatience with myself that is harbouring and manifesting the perceived impatience I see (and react to) in others.

In these hyper-busy work periods my default ‘should be’ to become more patient with myself (kinder to myself), however, on occasions, it’s been the complete opposite.
It’s when times are demanding and challenging is the exact time when I should be (more) patient with myself.
If I am to achieve the best possible outcomes for myself, and to be of service, then I need to develop the on-site skills to magnify my patience when I need I it most – oh but no…I found as it got busier, when customer demands heightened, when work-flow overflowed, I gradually not only lost patience, but I actively motivated impatience within myself – ridiculously I sped up, I communicated less, but demanded more, and I expected more…not only from myself and my team mates, but also…the customer…the customer!!! (told you it was comical…like they give a shit about what I’m thinking lol)

Patience
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious
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Be Gentle With Yourself
At the end of each day, which is late afternoon for me, I generally spend 15-20 minutes quietly reviewing my day.  I can honestly pin-point exactly the moments where I not only could of done better, but I can also reflect and audit my future-response (if a response was required) for when these occasions arise again.
This end-of-day audit process is also a very important opportunity to celebrate the wins of the day…to gratefully acknowledge what was achieved.

Make time to always acknowledge and celebrate the small wins along the way…always.

Don’t beat yourself up…
The important purpose and task at hand during this end-of-day ritual is really an opportunity to make friends with myself – because making friends with myself is also making friends with all those other people too  (the customers and team members who I’ve got frustrated with), because, and to use Pema Chödrön’s words ‘when you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness and goodheartedness, combined with clarity about myself, there’s no obstacle to feeling kindness for others as well’

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Meditation: Self-Loving-Kindness…more from Pema Chödrön
The above-word Maitri (Sanskrit) means the practice of loving kindness to oneself.
However this translation doesn’t mean getting rid of anything.
Maitri means…
That we can still be crazy after all these years…phew!
We can still get peeved at people for the most innocuous & trivial reasons...tick
We can still walk around grumpy for no reason what so ever.
We can still get wound up if other people don’t believe what we think is true
We can still tend to be timid, jealous and be full of feelings of unworthiness.

Pema says the point of a meditation (philosophical quietude or a spiritual reflection) practice is not to try change ourselves, it isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better.
It’s about befriending who we are already.
The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now...just as we are

We’re here to study ourselves, to get to know ourselves now, not later.
We maybe inclined to initiate delays in the task of approaching ourselves…waiting until we’re feeling better, more relaxed, less stressed…we may say…
I wanted to start this in the new year
I wanted to wait till I had some spare time
I wanted to start when I was on retreat
I wanted to start when…
….new job
…new partner
…new house
…when I lost weight
…when the kids have grown up
…when I’m in Bali

We could end up waiting forever!
Don’t delay...in the immortal words if Kurt Cobain, justcome as you are

One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are.
That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it

Chödrön goes onto say (and something that I’m attempting to practice) “it’s very helpful to realise that being here, sitting in meditation or occupying yourself doing the simple everyday things like working, walking outside, talking to people, doing a poo (I added that), and eating, is actually all that we need to be fully awake, fully alone, fully human.
It’s also incredibly useful to realise that this body that we have, and this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly we we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.

Pema illustrates that one of the major obstacles to what is traditionally called enlightenment is resentment, feeling cheated, holding a grudge about who you are, what you are, where you are. This is why she encourages us so much to make friends with ourselves, because, for some reason or other, we don’t feel that kind of satisfaction in a full and complete way. She goes on to say “meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are and of realising that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have.

Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis

Our brilliance, our juiciness (her words, not mine), our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness.”
(that is so bang on)

Our neurosis and our wisdom are made from the same material
-Pema Chödrön

 

Level-up your thinking…ready?
Japanese Buddhist big-hitter Suzuki Roshi says that meditation and the whole process of finding your own true nature is one continuous mistake(I concur) and that rather than that being a reason for depression or discouragement, it’s actually the motivation.
When you find yourself slumping, that’s the motivation to sit up
When you find yourself drinking too much alcohol, that’s time to cut back….not out of denigration but actually out of pride in everything that occurs to you, pride in who you are just as you are, pride in the goodness or the fairness or the worstness of yourself – however you find yourself – some sort of sense of taking pride and using it to spur you on.

Harvest Patience
I thought I had managed to instal a level of patience in my day to day. And I had, when my day was chilled.
However the brutal honestly of ‘working hospitality’ beautifully highlighted one continuous mistake I was making…impatience.

My eating, sleeping, exercise and training, meditation, poo’ing, reading and studying disciplines are all, in some way, born from my patient and deliberate practice…and this has allowed me to not only investigate and be continuously curious as to why I do what I do, but also the ability to let that shit go…literally

Our internal lives are largely governed by external influences (work, pandemics, news, ill health, mortgages, kids, school…) that can, and does, understandably erode our ability to be patient, especially patient when we need it most…these days.

The demanding scenarios in my own hospitality environment triggered me to respond in a way that only hyper-elevated my own impatience, it denied me making better choices and thus my ability to be of service to a level I know that I can deliver everyday, no matter what I’m doing or where I am.

Come as you are…
Trying to run away or trying to become someone else won’t get you the happiness you seek.
The magic is in being willing to open up to the moment now – just as it is.
When you can do that, you begin to be able to open to yourself just as you are….
Pema Chödrön

Q: Does our in ability to notice or address our impatience lead us to delve into & exercise our own addictive, impulsive behaviours?
Q: Does our impatience kibosh our health-wealth goals?
Q: Do we subconsciously use impatience and ‘being busy’ to self-sabotage our ability for self-kindness?

 

Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy

Take your time, hurry up
Choice is yours, don’t be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old

Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend
As an old

Come As Your Are
Nirvana
Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic & Dave Grohl

Till Next Time…

Luke