Learn more and register today for Mindful and Compassionate Service with Frank Ostaseski at Friends Meeting of Washington on Saturday, May 17th.
Confidence. Confidence is something we often equate with expertise. The more you know, the more confident you feel. Information, mastery, knowing…these are the things that give us power, make us feel safe and provide ground under our feet.
There is another way. There is an even more reliable strength; a stability more worthy of our faith. An abiding constancy is actually available to you in a place of mystery and surprise…in your everyday life…at home….at work…everywhere you go. Do you think that you could be happier if you stopped being the expert? Would your life be more fun and more free if you were honest about not knowing what’s next? Do you believe that your life could become more peaceful, more fulfilled and more sustainable by letting go of the need to know?
Nope. Me either.
Then I met Frank Ostaseski.
I have written before about my experience as a participant in Metta Institute’s End of Life Care Practitioner Program, but I don’t usually talk about the man behind it. Frank Ostaseski. His love, his compassion, his humor, patience and ability to just leave me alone were a very big part of my experience. It makes my heart happy to talk about him in this way so effortlessly now because, lemme tell ya…when I met him, I didn’t like the guy. Not one bit.
Let’s be clear. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure it was my ego that didn’t like Frank. That’d be the clinical “ego”. You know, the one the mental health folks and the Buddhists talk about…the one that was busy preserving my image and keeping me “safe” and “in control”. Yep, my ego saw Frank coming from a mile away and it was not interested in his snake oil-sellin’ self.
Thankfully, when I met Frank and the amazingly transformative program he had created the deepest parts of me knew that they were all about to be reorganized, reprioritized and some of them would even be dismantled or asked to leave entirely. They knew they had overstayed their welcome and it was cleaning day. Frank’s confidence and fearlessness in the face of what he must have known was going to happen to me…IN me and in all of my classmates convinced a still deeper part of me that not only was it time, but that I also had the resources to clean this house. It was time to offload some ballast and get out of my own way. Time to shed shame and own joy. Time to freefall into honesty with myself.
I couldn’t have known. And I never would have gotten there if I had.
I was silent for 7 days and it didn’t kill me. At the end I wanted more…and I haven’t stopped.
I cried harder and deeper than I ever have in my life about things that can’t be fixed…the truth of my mortality, the mortality of my dearest ones and the inescapability of impermanence. I cried and nobody held me and nobody kissed me and I came out alive and loved by a force greater than I had ever known. Me.
I came face to face with the true deep wounding of sarcasm and the places it has worn me…and discovered how to be truly funny at nobody’s expense and how to show love for others through direct and loving means that require no translation.
I learned that I’m not a good punchline and neither is anyone else. Funny is funny and pain is pain. It was time to stop mixing them up.
I felt how fast I go… and how much better it feels not to.
I saw that my experience is valid and real even if I don’t tell it to a single other person.
Aaand, I really like it when others validate my experience.
I finally understood and began to believe that it’s never ok to say that I’m stupid or to let anyone else treat me in a way that makes me feel stupid.
I found that waiting is good and silence can be not only comfortable, but a powerful healer.
A voice deep inside asked me to stop wasting time on things that don’t make me happy, serve others or honor what’s true.
I learned that the more awake (that’s with a capital “A”) I am, the harder it is to go back to sleep…ifyaknowwhuttameen
I learned that I don’t just like, but I’m actually in love with humans…in all their nasty, greedy, self-interested, self-preserving, loving, serving, cuddly, mortal complexity.
I made a pact with myself to never be small again, inside or out.
Does any of that sound good to you? Do you want some o’ that? Perhaps it’s time to be your own best resource. Time to live a life in which you are your own best friend. A life that invites you to start looking inside instead of outside for what’s true and meaningful.
Imagine being hungry for more of you, for more of life, for more of what really matters. Doesn’t that sound awesome?…like Merriam-Webster “awesome”?..not surfer “awesome”…although, I think surfers do kind of know awesome.
If knowing you better and loving you more sounds like a good way to spend a Saturday, I invite you with all of my heart and so much love to come and spend the day with me and Frank and others who want to know ease, feel love and go home happier on Saturday, May 17th in Washington, DC.
Please come and bring your friends and your family and your neighbors and your co-workers. “Mindful and Compassionate Service” with Frank Ostaseski is sure to be a day of useful questions, shared experience and true discovery. You may even go home with a new friend…who won’t take up any more room in your car.