Sylvestor, Thomas, Pema, and Aunt Marzipan

Meet my old pal, Sylvestor, who is a cat-about-town in Seattle (and has excellent taste in fiction).

Here’s something theologian and therapist Thomas Moore says in one of my very favorite books, Care of the Soul:

“The Greeks told the story of the minotaur, the bull-headed flesh-eating man who lived in the center of the labyrinth. He was a threatening beast, and yet his name was Asterion — Star. I often think of this paradox as I sit with someone with tears in her eyes, searching for some way to deal with a death, a divorce, or a depression. It is a beast, this thing that stirs in the core of her being, but it is also the star of her innermost nature. We have to care for this suffering with extreme reverence so that, in our fear and anger at the beast, we do not overlook the star.”

Here’s something Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön says (from her audiobook How to Meditate, paraphrased by me):
Approach your own frustrations in meditation — such as your inability to focus or relax or stop your spinning mind — with (1) patience, (2) gentleness, and (3) a sense of humor. Don’t beat yourself up! Failing is part of the process. Be kind to yourself!

And, finally, here’s something my Aunt Marzipan, who is a musician, emailed me once:

“We have both chosen professions that demand a great deal of isolation, introspection and solitary preparation. I also think that writing carries with it a perpetual dissatisfaction with one’s product, just as music does. It’s part of what keeps you going — that the end product is always at least twenty paces ahead of you. It is also exhausting…. I can’t imagine being in a ‘normal’ profession; music is so challenging and so incontestably beautiful.”

Hello on what I am proclaiming to be Random Wisdom Thursday. Be patient and gentle with yourself today, no matter what you’re doing. Have a sense of humor. Appreciate the exhausting things you do, and the beautiful things, big and small. And if you happen to be struggling with a monster — try not to forget about the star.