Thursday, June 09, 2016

Relentless Gentleness

It may seem funny to pair the word "relentless" with the word "gentleness", but this is what I am working with more and more. I can be a somewhat relentless person - relentless in business (note I did not say ruthless), in personal relationships, in working on/with myself. However, that relentlessness can be quite tiring, has been exhausting, in fact. And so I am learning that my gentleness needs to be as relentless as the more common things associated with relentlessness:

What does relentless gentleness look like?
For me it looks like

1. Holding space in my schedule for resting, protecting time with cats, meditation, exercise.
2. Standing my ground against my own self-hating tendencies, the ones that push me too hard to work.
3. Leveraging the same pushy bits of myself that force me to work, to criticize and instead use those forces to force myself to rest, relax, just hang out.

It's a ground teaching in Vajrayana Buddhism that the place from where our confusion arises is also from where our wisdom is born. This relentlessness in myself is not inherently bad - it's strength, resilience and dedication. How I apply it, on the other hand, changes everything. Learning to direct the need to be committed and clear towards kindness is key; changing the tack of the sail of "get it done" to "make sure I sleep a full nine hours" is tricky but rewarding. And slowly but surely, the strengthened gentleness takes over more easily when the seemingly more powerful self-critic tries to take the reins.

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