At the entrance to Pema Chodron’s monastery on Cape Breton Island is a sign that reads:  “Enjoy Your Life.”

Pema, like all of us knows that life isn’t a bowl of cherries. It can be unfair – sometimes in our favor and sometimes not.

However, when we show up for our life with a curious mind, wondering what might happen today, we get to experience more opportunities to appreciate the joy of being alive, helping others, and getting to spend time with those we love (even when they can be a teeny bit annoying).

And we recognize that there will naturally be days more difficult than others. We coexist with those days, doing what we can to mitigate difficult circumstances, while not wasting our energy fretting over the “why me” or it’s not fair.”

We learn not to take on this burden of “piggyback” suffering and conserve our energy for what we can do something about, especially for what brings meaning, and joy to our days — such as delighting in the company of those whom we love, taking steps towards important purposes, and offering a kind word to boost the spirits of others.

Many of you carry terrible burdens and my heart is with you. Life can grind us down. But keep retraining your eyes and hearts and brains to find the light that falls through the cracks. It is worth it. And on the days that you just can’t manage another thing, give yourself a break from constant striving. Take advice from Darlene Cohen, author of Turning Suffering Inside Out, who goes to bed on those days and “eats chocolate and watches funny movies.”

Everyone comes to the end of their rope now and then and we just need a little break. Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes it is exactly what we require to start fresh the next day.

Here is the gift of a poem, recited beautifully by John O’Donohue. The title means Blessing in English. I hope you enjoy it:  Beannacht

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