Bringing it all into the temple, even (especially) the hard stuff

I am a temple of accumulated error.

—Wavy Gravy

TempleOfHathorSometimes the fierce optimism falls apart. Sometimes the heartfelt commitments just don’t happen. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things go awry.

I’m there. I’m right there. I’m not immune, you’re not immune. Sometime that precarious hold you have on seeing things in the best possible light just fails.

What a powerful opportunity!

I mean that, I really do. This knowledge is a blessing: No matter how difficult things get (and hooboy they have been difficult lately!) my baseline understanding that self-compassion, self-tenderness, and self-mercy are available saves my ass from giving up. All I need to do is to remember.

I guess I’ve been coasting, until recently. Moving forward in seeking healing for my chronic illness. Moving forward in my work for my clients. Moving forward working with, and supporting and being supported by smart, passionate, mission-driven women in business who set the “yes, this is how you can show up” bar for me every day. Making firm commitments to myself and to my loved ones.

I’ve cut myself a lot of slack, when I’ve broken promises to myself because I’ve been sick. My once-a-week social dancing commitment still appears in my calendar, but I’ve only had the ability to go out once in the last six months. Just too tired. Another example: My occasional commitment to work at night or on the weekend has often not happened, again, wiped out.

And I’ve learned how to forgive myself for mistakes.

But the moment can come when self-forgiveness, self-compassion and self-mercy can feel completely inaccessible.

For me, this last week held that moment. I made a big mistake in my business. And I had a very hard time coming to forgiving, compassionate and merciful peace with that. And moving on.

And then, yesterday, despite having bought a pretty dress and gotten a killer mani/pedi (dark purple with a shimmer), I was too sick to attend my beloved friend’s wedding.

I realized that I had gone around putting out the flames in my own temple, because I felt I didn’t deserve the love. The disappointment and guilt can be so overwhelming. I was lucky to find a guided meditation from one of my teachers about this very thing, and it has helped. And I’ve been very gentle and tender with myself, as I’ve been riding the waves of guilt and disappointment.

Here’s what I know. I am so much more comfortable pushing myself into action than I am with surrender. I have a boatload of beliefs about what surrender means (lazy slug, for one, and the others are no prettier). I have felt very susceptible to the coulda/woulda/shoulda’s.

LaughingBuddhaVingTrangPagodaAnd here’s what I’m declaring for myself, and for all you beautiful shining temple denizens.

The work can begin anew right now, with this breath, in this now moment. I am relighting all the lamps in my temple. And if when I falter again, I can start anew yet another time. Whatever it is, whatever commitment you have not been able to keep, whatever mistake you might have made, the opportunity is there in every single now moment, and the next, to start again, to recommit, the repair the mistake.

What do you do, cherished one, to heal yourself, to remember and find again the self-compassion, self-tenderness, and self-mercy that the Divine is always offering you, even when you’ve made a big mistake, or failed to complete a commitment? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

I embrace with open heart and 100% love every single one of you beautiful temples of accumulated error and celebrate that we can and do love each other on this journey.

Gratitude blogwithheart

  • I am grateful to be a nominee for Jodi Chapman’s award. If what you read on my blog has moved you, if my words have resonated in your heart, please add your nomination for me by clicking on this link or on the image.
  • I am grateful for laughter (see my Buddha friend above).
  • I am grateful for laughing through today’s Mah Jongg game, and even more grateful that I won three out of six. Yes, I’m that superficial.
  • I am grateful that it’s beautiful, sunny, autumnal.
  • I am grateful for deep rest.
  • I am grateful for accepting (even if it doesn’t come naturally, I can get there!) myself, my humanness, with love.
  • I am grateful for my beautiful clients, colleagues and tribe, who share their truth from authenticity and vulnerability, and teach me so much!
  • I am grateful to be alive.

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. This blog resonated deeply for me, as too am coming out of a dark period filled with regret, self-blame, and had been ignoring my spiritual practice for too long. How I am healing and learning to feel self-compassion and soul restoration: each morning I begin the day with candles and incense lit, and I listen to sacred music of all kinds. Buddhist chants seem to work the best in soothing me during those first hours before the sun rises. I meditate and go into the silence, and then write in my journal. During the day, I take time to tune into uplifting seminars or Youtube presentations that keep me centered and focused on my primary purpose (self-care) rather than rushing through my task list for the day, nonstop. In the evenings, I do not watch journalists report the news. I watch documentaries that take me into the sacred world of nature and the history of mysticism in all its forms. “Samsara” is an example of a great film without narration, but only magnificent cinemetography showing how humanity has used ritual to cope with the devastating power that sometimes erupts from Mother Earth or from human cruelty as one culture overtakes another. (Tibet, for example.) I read books on topics that will teach me more about what I already know; we are all united as one, not only globally, but throughout the universe. For me to stay “on the beam” spirtually, I must practice these habits, daily. If I am traveling, I take the opportunity to bring light into the lives of others. Namaste. 

    • Wow, Marcia, you have certainly shined a bright beam at me today, and for that I am very grateful. I feel expansion in my heart, and peace throughout. I am so grateful you took the time to comment.

      Blessed be!

      Love and light,

  2. Hi Sue,

    You can only do what you can do. I love Bryon Katie’s work to get me back on track. Those worksheets and her videos do it everytime. Continue to take care of yourself. You are so worth it!!

    • Tess, hmmm… I’d love to know—what worksheets and videos? Would be so lovely to look at them, have them around for times like I’ve been having lately.


  3. A very moving post, Sue. Thank you for sharing. I also face my demons every day and have to consciously remind myself that there is also so much beauty in life, little things around me. I also find that writing helps, reading and watching programs about nature, mythology, history, spirituality…anything that lifts me up and is inspirational. I avoid anything that is about war and destruction, although I’m not ignorant to those tragedies. I have also stopped judging myself, especially when I don’t meet the deadlines I’ve set. I completely accept that I need to follow my natural flow. I have creative peaks, and then I stall, perhaps a sign I need to recharge, reflect and re-evaluate. When I stall, I start to become more aware of what I have achieved and created so far. Also, at those times I find that new ideas come up that help me progress. Although lack of energy and productivity are frustrating, I also embrace these periods as necessary for my growth.


    • Christiane, I love how you drink in inspiration. And your loving commitment to give up self-judgment. I like the last bit the best, embracing periods of slowdown as necessary recharge, reflect and reevalution time.


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