Many things that cause suffering can simply be dropped. But to me wisdom lies in knowing what you can drop and what you need to hold on to. That’s the note I would give the Chumash elder about his otherwise wonderful graduation speech. I would thank him for beautifully encouraging students to work with their problems by looking inside first, rather than outside. And when my own children dig deep inside one of the questions I hope they will ask themselves is whether there’s a banana in there, somewhere, that they’re hanging onto for dear life that’s somehow trapping them unnecessarily. But, there’s a second question I hope that they ask themselves too, the flip-side of the “What can I let go of to ease my suffering question” and that question is whether what’s causing me to suffer is a principle worth standing-up for, and sometimes that means suffering for too.
This morning I woke up to a number of thoughtful emails about the decision to take the Mindfulness Together online community offline. The common thread was that it seemed like a sudden move and people wanted to check-in to make sure that everything is alright. So, I wanted to quickly write a blog post to thank those who reached out and make clear that ‘letting-go’ of the online community is something I’ve considered for some time as part of my husband’s and my transition into our lives as empty-nesters. But please also know that I’m doing my own digging deep as we go through this transition and I’m not only looking for things to let go of, I’m also keeping a close eye on what it is important that I hold on to, and if necessary stand-up for.
For me, when it comes to bringing mindfulness into the mainstream, one of the principles worth standing-up for is the promotion of an agenda based on collaboration whenever and wherever possible. Just like the decision to take mindfulness together offline is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, so too is this theme of collaboration. I first wrote about the importance of collaboration on the Huffington Post in June of 2010 in a piece called The Branding of Wisdom. Later that summer I wrote about the importance of collaboration in the movement to bring secular mindfulness into education in A Mindful Revolution in Education and the theme of collaboration continues in my speaking and writing today. Richard Brady’s Mindfulness in Education Yahoo group and Amy Saltzman’s Association for Mindfulness in Education Google group offered me an easy place to bring both of these teachings -- ‘letting go’ and ‘standing up for what you believe in’ -- together.
I’ll see you in those places.