by Dr. Brandon Nappi
There are some days when I realize that what I set out to do will be left undone. I say things that I don’t truly mean. I leave unsaid what my heart longs to say because of fear, distraction, or simple unawareness. I forget to be grateful and stumble past a zillion blessings on the way to bed at night. Too often, I complain that if people simply did things my way life would be so much better. Then I complain to myself that complaining doesn’t help. I try to rationalize why my actions are nearly always totally justified. I judge others and then turn the insidious critic toward myself.
These are the cobwebs of my heart. Perhaps disappointing oneself is even more crushing than disappointing others. The very act of reflecting on my own life patterns can trigger a familiar and strangely comfortable self-loathing. There is a temptation to hate all of this about myself and wage war against it. In my wiser moments I recognize that a battle with oneself will always be a losing one.
Mindfulness is about paying attention to the truth of what is happening without judgment. It invites the courage to see things clearly and honestly. Seeing these cobwebs allows me to imagine a new way of moving through the world that is not motivated by fear, ego, craving, or aversion.
Mindfulness practice generates a light of awareness that can illumine the darkness of ignorance. The light doesn’t fight the darkness; rather, in the light, the darkness simply disappears. In truth, there is nothing to fight because there is nothing to defend or protect. Fighting simply continues the same tired battle which drains me of life and severs my connection to others. The invitation is to extend kindness and compassion universally–even to the cranky, judging dimensions of myself that I sometimes deem unworthy of care.
The following words are a mantra that greets me each day in my living room: I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.
Even in my imperfection, I am enough as I am. Somehow this acceptance opens up a space in me to more fully share the love, acceptance, and compassion that I treasure when I receive it from others. Acceptance is the best fuel for growth and change. These cobwebs are perfectly imperfect.
Dr. Brandon Nappi is founder and executive director of Copper Beech Institute, the nation’s newest retreat center for mindfulness and contemplative practice. Copper Beech Institute offers more than 40 transformational retreats and courses, as well as mindfulness practice and mindfulness at work offerings to help you awaken to the beauty of your life.