Without personal insight, we do not evolve into better versions of ourselves. Recognizing an asset or a problem is the first step in utilizing the asset or mitigating the problem. Personal awareness is what leads to insights that lead to revelations that show us the way to improvement. That’s what I’m working on.

I read somewhere that stress is change we haven’t adapted to yet, so now when I get stressed, I try to identify the change I haven’t adapted to yet. In my case, the recent source is the dietary change from my doctor. The doctor is right. When I follow the new diet, I’m fine. I feel better. The problem is that I don’t know what’s in so much of what I eat even though I read the labels diligently. When I order a meal in a restaurant, I’m guessing at what might actually be in the food. When I find a food that provides protein and helps me feel better, but the grocery store stops carrying it, I feel stressed. But meditation helps.

I’m not pushing a religion here. I just find I get my best insights from mindfulness meditation and dreams. Sometimes, just walking away from a problem allows me to see the obvious. I feel isolated by my diet. I see how full the grocery store is and how much of it is off limits to me. I see all the wonderful entrees on a restaurant menu and how few are available to me. Because I feel isolated, the smallest thing will add to the feeling of isolation. As the Dalai Lama has said, afflictive emotions (in my case, feeling isolated) allow me to hone in on anything else that echoes the sentiment, and the feeling becomes exaggerated. Afflictive emotions, by the way, are caused by not realizing everything and every event are interdependent, e.g. feeling isolated. I realized that, and began to think of the foods I can eat, and then I felt better.

Then I meditated on self-acceptance, which leads to self-compassion. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? (Obviously not mine originally.) I believe that all beings are basically good, because I believe the concept of good has to exist before the concept of bad can exist. That’s idealistic, which I am, and a bit theoretical. The point is everyone deserves to feel good about and toward themselves. We all suffer enough as it is.

So now I feel better about myself. I hope to find easier choices of food that help my body feel better. I also feel better about the music I play on guitar and my little harp, the art I do with my pastel chalk, the blankets I knit, and the poetry I write, because I meditated on accepting myself. And I did. And I do. And the moral to this story is if you’re stressed, figure out what change you haven’t adapted to yet, and find options to help you make that transition, because life changes way too fast for most of us these days.

May we all be relaxed, free from suffering, kind, and happy.


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