On one hand, we can say “fuck it” to mean “I’m out. I’ve had enough. This is bullshit”. The breaking point that becomes the impetus to draw boundaries and stand up for what we know is right, destroy the systems and tendencies that hold us back – both the structures of oppression all around us and their echoes inside of us. On the flip side, we can use “fuck it” to mean throw caution to the wind, to say “I’m in. Fuck yeah! Let’s goooooooo!”. This one liberates us from the “should” of it all, gives inspiration to be spontaneous, and permission to be different from who we think we need to be.
So how do we heal from lifelong habits forged in times we can hardly remember? What can we realistically expect when it comes to healing and addressing the deep traumas and challenges of our lives? And how does this healing relate to the larger social and intergenerational trauma all around us? Because none of this happens in isolation. My struggles have emerged out of my own unique circumstances of nature and nurture, but also from the cumulative trauma of the families that made my parents, and theirs, and so on, as well as the societies that informed all of them. Including this one. There’s so much healing needed, individually and collectively, as a species and as a planet, it can be hard to even know where to start.
In times of crisis and overwhelm, intentionally paying attention to the small pockets of pleasure or peace in our experience can be immensely sustaining. The practice of appreciation, our CEC theme for October, begins with giving yourself permission to seek out and experience goodness, and then noticing what gifts, however small or subtle, are within your reach at any given time.
Fittingly, we start this year at CEC exploring concentration. Concentration blooms in these conditions of energized commitment. While our resolve is still strong, we’ll practice the discipline of starting, again and again, to notice the present moment. Dedication to this practice illuminates a great gift of concentration: that we have a choice in what we pay attention to. And that our minds can get freer when we exercise that choice.
It doesn’t take much time on the cushion to figure out that there is nothing passive about meditation. Knowing the present moment, and ourselves, is full of effort. It’s hard work to recognize and acknowledge the realities we’re faced with, to see them clearly and sit with the discomfort they bring. But this clear-eyed acceptance is the groundwork for meaningful change. Its opposite is denial; that’s what keeps us stuck.