Embodied Intimacy, Transformative Inquiry, Creative Emergence

We Got Lucky ~ What every moment offers us

Posted by on Aug 29, 2018 in Articles by Shayla, Lifeletters & Articles | 5 comments

We Got Lucky ~ What every moment offers us

I had a bad day this week. It was a day of struggle and self judgment. The kind of day when you feel powerless, trapped inside the stories of the mind. The ruthless logic of my intellect had me pinned to the wall. The story of failure, of missing the boat, was loud and persistent. I saw myself repeating the same tragic mental and emotional habits of my parents, perpetuating the traumatic imprints of my whole ancestral line. Emerging from weeks of wild fire smoke, the infinite bright beauty of the sky could not deliver me from the smoke inside. I was grief stricken, hopeless; I felt like a walking mistake.

Part of this experience was connected with a recent separation from my partner. The natural grieving process was in full flow. I was at the supermarket, reeling with all this despair. And then I stumbled into a moment. I was bent over, filling a bag with goji berries. Perhaps the irrepressible well-being in those berries, grown on a mountain slope in Mongolia or China, trickled into my body. As I stood up, I heard myself asking this question; “No matter how bad I feel, no matter how dark it looks, how barbaric it appears to be on the inside or on the outside, does any of this experience actually prevent me from practicing?”

Once that question slipped down my midline and lit up the inside of my brain, the answer was clear: No. The question and the answer were not separate. None of this prevents me from practicing. In fact, it seems to be asking me for more, for a deeper practice. A more courageous practice, a wilder practice.

What a privilege it is to know this. To really know it. It’s what Chogyam Trungpa, the great Tibetan teacher meant when he said, “Everything is workable.” Stepping into the truth of this, thank God, is not white privilege. Black men on death row have awakened to the truth of this. Brown women in the jungle have discovered this. Yellow people, red people, have allowed the truth of this to catch fire in them. This liberating beauty of this knowledge permeates every strand, every angle of the rainbow.

Any colour, any gender, anyone who is human, has an opportunity to know this. But those of us who take it in, we got lucky.

We got Lucky

If we hold fast to the truth of this, anchor our hearts and minds to this lifeline, we’ll discover the parts of us that don’t believe it’s possible. Especially in the mad frenetic pace of our lives. We’ll talk ourselves into believing that we cannot really practice until we have some quiet time, a few days off.

There is certainly a strand of truth running through this idea. We do need quiet time, and many of us have not claimed that time for ourselves. It might even feel impossible, if, like a brilliant young client of mine, you have a profession, a husband and a young child.

We cannot afford to wait until we have some quiet time, until we are on retreat. We have to learn to practice right in the middle of the market place. We have to listen, lean into, the voice of our soul, and be prepared to hear those whispers, even when the din around us is very loud.

Adya Shanti’s Zen teacher was a woman who awakened while she was raising a large family. When Adya asked her how she did it, how she found the time to contemplate, to inquire, to rest in presence, she said, “I looked for the spaces that open up unexpectedly, all through the day.”

He said, “Like when?”

She said, “Like at a stoplight.”

That is persistence, that is devotion. If you listen to your soul like that, she will start speaking to you more and more clearly. Then you can begin to claim your right to fully be here, to inhabit this moment with all of who you are. And at the very same time, to die to this moment, to let go, so that something unknown can emerge, through you.

Each of us carries
in our chest
a song

so old
we don’t know
if we learned it

some night
between the murmurs
of fallen kisses

our lips
surprise us
when we utter

this song
that is singing
and crying at once

~Francisco X Alarcon

with love,


Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Carol

    Beautiful! Thanks Shayla for the whole human being you are. Love, Carol

  2. Brenda MacLauchlan

    Thank you Shayla for the honesty of living – sharing the places inside and outside that bowl us over – and the practice of noticing – there is no ‘getting there’, to some place where we are not bowled over, but we do not have to stay in that bowled over place.

  3. Elsa

    I join you in grieving your loss and also in celebrating the opening to “A more courageous practice, a wilder practice”.

  4. Charon Hunniford

    our soul … our spirit are ””living”” the same tune. Thank you for the words … and a few of my own.

    rest in not-knowing
    … in not-seeing
    open receiving
    the moment …
    insight of truth

  5. Andrew MacDonald

    Yes, Shayla. Sharing with you and all moments like bending over at the supermarket to pick up berries. All these presences, one after another. I’m scribbling a note, if you can scribble on a keyboard, before going to meet a friend. Not knowing what will emerge from any now, while looking for the good stuff, looking for the Friend, in whatever guise.

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