I’ve been sitting with White Tara and practicing tonglen a lot lately. It’s making me realize how strongly I’m committed to opening my heart more and more to all that is (all of it), and how very hard that is.

The practice of tonglen is a big ask: you breathe in suffering and breathe out relief. You include it ALL in your practice. It’s a big ask.

I’ve been seeing so much separation, so much polarization, so many ways in which we are dehumanizing each other from all sides, and I’m not okay with it. It has been breaking my heart. So much so that I’ve been losing sleep.

Tonglen asks you to get closer and not run away from what is uncomfortable.

And not speaking my truth because it might make me uncomfortable has, historically, stripped me of my power.

Dampening my inner spark and causing me to abandon myself so that I become mute.

Withholding from myself, my spirit, my soul. This is no way to live, and I cannot live someone else’s idea of my life for them.

I think of the ways I’ve been wounded in activist and women’s communities and I try to breathe it in. Breathe out relief. For I know I’m not the only one who feels, or has felt, this way.

I think of the ways I’ve been silenced and told I was wrong because I’m too alternative, or not alternative enough, or just not enough. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. For I know I’m not the only one who feels, or has felt, this way.

I think of the ways I’ve been shouted at on the street for being fat or the ways I’ve dropped my partner’s hand when I haven’t felt safe. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. For I know I’m not the only one who feels, or has felt, this way.

Each time I speak about these things, I can feel myself shaking. Heart pounding. Fear of being judged, being called out, being hated, or of losing everything. Breathe it in. Breathe it out. For I know I’m not the only one who feels or has felt this way.

For like Chenrezig, luminous deity of loving, moments of withholding split me into thousands of pieces.


 

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