Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

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Pema Chödrön has been saving my life since I listened to This Moment is the Perfect Teacher. I was in a tizzy recently and stopped by the library on my way somewhere else to pour some Pema over my raging brain and calm it, plucked this book off the shelf. One of my issues is the anger from going into a rage at cars that nearly hit me, or getting apoplectic at the smug entitled male gaze. I need a way to navigate the city without being at war. Pema’s got the trick, too glibly summarized as:

  1. Stop, realize you’re being hooked into a situation, acknowledge this.
  2. Pause. Take three conscious breaths and lean into the energy, explore it, get curious about this weird feeling that is so strong that was about to overpower you.
  3. Relax and move on.

This will stop the ever-escalating pattern of vengeance and aggression that I shamefully practice. The ingrained habit is to be hurt and lash out, but by pausing, you can check that, make it a moment that you learn something, choose to break the cycle of rage. “Being open and receptive to whatever is happening is always more important than getting worked up and adding further aggression to the planet, adding further pollution to the atmosphere.”