However, when the crisis is more emotional or mental, when it is a mental health challenge of either mine or my wife's, I lose a lot of that clarity. I know this likely doesn't sound that surprising, but it's been powerful to observe how that happens - when there is an external threat or cause, I can see clearly. When it is more internal or relational, things get foggy.
In particular, when I am struggling with my own depression or anxiety, I don't reach out for help. I don't value the need for self-care as much as I do when the cause seems immediate and obvious. It's not even that I resist being vulnerable - I am pretty ok with that. This all happens at a much deeper, less obvious level, wherein I don't even consider contacting anyone. It only becomes obvious to me I am avoiding getting support when I begin to avoid incoming calls, texts or emails asking how I am.
I am inspired by the calmness of my mind when things are externally rough. I am inspired to apply that, to find ways to engage it - through mediation, breathing, loving kindness and tonglen - knowing it is there helps me to trust I can build it for more difficult emotional times.
And at times like this, when I can get some clarity and relief - like I have today - I am grateful. So grateful for the teachings, my teachers, my students. So grateful for practice. I can feel how lucky I am - to have a loving partner, a good community and amazing opportunity to access teachings that help me not just survive but thrive. Wow. Yes.
PS Extra gratitude for the GoFundMe campaign, which reached our goal of $5000 by June 1 for the next volume of the Way of Seeing: Heart of Perception by John McQuade and myself. Double wow!