Every day, my high school art teacher would walk around the classroom to inspect each student’s progress on their project—but mostly to make sure people weren’t goofing off. I never goofed off. I was there to make art—and to escape from my problems for forty minutes, digging all my anger and fear into the grooves of the paper with each cray-pas stroke.
Traditional Buddhist teachings tell us that we should love all beings because -- over the course of many lifetimes -- everyone has been your mother in one of them. In traditional Buddhist southeast Asian cultures, this is a valid metaphor for creating an attitude of love, respect, and gratitude for all beings.
Here in the west, that ain't necessarily so. Our relationships with our mothers are fraught with tension. We rebel against them, seek to separate from them, blame them for our messed-up psyches. So if you tell a westerner that all beings have been their mother, instead of unlocking a well of love and respect you might find the thought, "So that's why they're so hard to get along with."
Gender generalizations make me uneasy. But after practicing psychotherapy for many years with women from diverse racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, there’s one that is unfortunately consistent: most women struggle with genuine self-care.
Mark Sanford, who on Tuesday was elected to Congress by South Carolina voters, reveals he turned to meditation after the spectacular implosion of his political career as governor of that state after the revelation of his trip to Argentina in pursuit of a woman while he told his wife and staff that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
My non-practicing Jewish grandparents used to come to synagogue on Friday nights just to hear me sing in the youth choir. “You were the littlest one up there, but you had the biggest voice,” my grandma tells me. That might be true, or it might be something grandmas say, but I remember feeling confident and having FUN singing, unconcerned with whether I was talented.