Few days ago, on my drive home, I saw my friend M on the street. I am not sure if I can call her a friend…we used to take a class together, so she is more of an acquaintance I guess.
As lovely as she is, I don’t think about her too often. But when I drove by her the other day, a memory flooded back to me.
A mutual friend of ours has passed away few years ago. I went to the memorial service, which was held at M’s house. She is a nun.
M is very funny and friendly and I have always liked her. When I entered her house she welcomed me with her usual smile.
Soon, the house was full of people and filled with air of solemnness and respect.
The room was very quiet when the ceremony started. Then M stood in front of everybody and before she said the prayer, she started talking about the friend. Soon, she broke down in tears. “I miss her so much…”
I remember being shocked by her tears. Because she is a nun. I always thought nuns are supposed to be over all the sufferings in the real world.
Few weeks ago, I saw my friend Eshu at Social Media Camp. He is a Zen monk, and he was speaking at the Spirituality panel.
I have been to Zen sitting he hosts at Uvic’s Interfaith chapel few times before and he has a big influence on me. I was happy to see him, and as I escorted him into the speaker’s room I asked how he was.
He said “Oh, I’m OK… I’m tired, and my family has not been well. I’m kind of stressed out.”
I remember saying this jokingly; “What! You’re not supposed to be stressed out! You’re a monk!”
Seeing M the other day reminded me of my comment to Eshu, and that got me thinking how much expectation we place on those who are in religious practice. Eshu and I have talked about this before – I find it very interesting that just because they are monks, we assume they are free from stress and suffering.
But is that true?
I don’t think so. They are regular people, just like me and you.
Then it got me thinking how these two incidents actually made me like them both more. Well, I have always liked them, but them showing their vulnerability made them seem more human and I resonated with them. I have written about embracing vulnerability and here I am again, faced by the fact that embracing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of honesty and authenticity.
I recently had lunch with a friend who had a lot of stress in a very short period of time. She was telling me how she tweeted that she needed a hug, and many encouraging messages had poured in for her. She said they actually did make her feel much better.
Being honest about how you are feeling and asking for help is so important – it’s vital if you wanted to live a wholehearted life.
I already knew this in my head by reading Brené’s book, but I’m so happy when I have this kind of my own AHA moment.