I sat quietly, eyes closed.
Tara Brach’s soothing voice spoke from the podcast, leading a RAIN meditation, taking me into a troubled space in my head and heart.
I’ve been looking for a house to hopefully buy, a little long-term security for me and the possibility of having an AirBnb space to share with visitors to my part of Tennessee. Jeanette and I had so much fun staying in AirBnbs on our trip to England and Scotland last year–each host and home leaving its own special imprint. I feel a spark at the idea of creating a special welcoming space.
The search hasn’t gone well. If I love the house and it’s ready to move into, I can’t afford it. If I can afford it, it definitely is not ready to move into and will take the skills of a much differently-talented soul than me to get it that way.
And then money–I’m pretty terrible at keeping track and saving for the future. To even see all the categories that life’s costs can be divided into and attempt to fill those with some sort of accurate and achievable numbers, call it a budget then stick to it? What kind of strange magic is that??
But my reactions to the process have been colored with ghosts of the past and the feelings that accompany those. Some of the reactions have felt young, like child-young. “I don’t deserve good things” “I’ll never get what I want.” “What I want doesn’t matter.” This is where my thoughts had landed during the meditation.
If you haven’t heard of the practice of RAIN, this is a basic description of the process:
The acronym RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion using the following four steps:
Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.
You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise.
I remembered being eight-years-old, standing in front of my mother and crying.
“But why can’t you make new doll pajama bottoms? I didn’t mean to leave them at the hospital!” I’d had a short hospital stay, and in the hubbub of gathering my belongings I had apparently lost the tiny article of clothing my mom had made me of white cotton edged with lace. I was heartbroken–I valued the work she’d done to make me something special, I treasured it. And now it was gone, irrevocably gone. But I had lost it. My mother wasn’t about to be bothered by my loss.
My thoughts shifted to the two years of miscarrying in my early 30s. “Why can’t I have the desire of my heart for more children?” I had cried out in anguish to God. Over the following years I saw an answer I hadn’t expected–the nurturing of foster children and eventual adoption of two of them.
More thoughts of experiences that felt unfair flitted through my brain. Why am I so fixated there? I asked myself. Logic says that it takes a certain amount of money to buy and then keep up a house. If you have the money, then okay. But what if there’s a different answer to this desire of mine, and I just haven’t seen it yet? Like with the children? Not everyone has a house. Is that the only answer? Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe not now. Be open. Be open to the future.
What would I say to any other person in the same situation? You have worth. It isn’t dependent on your possessions, where you live or what you do. You have worth because you are here on this planet. You can’t see the future–who knows what joy is out there? Rest. Accept yourself. Love yourself. And keep moving forward.
I highly recommend Tara’s website–there are so many helpful podcasts and articles on mindfulness, dealing with shame, compassion, grief, anti-racism. If it’s a part of the human condition, it’s on there.
The bring your own beverage conversation: What area in your life needs your own compassion? Learning to be compassionate toward ourselves allows us much more true compassion for others.