Dharma Talk for Fierce Calm & Wanderlust 108

Mariel Witmond
Mariel Witmond

02 August, 2021

Dharma Talk for Fierce Calm & Wanderlust 108

At the beginning of the pandemic last year I helped Fierce Calm organize a charity fundraiser to support teachers in need. Opening the event, I remember sharing how I had felt we had been living isolated lives long before the world forced us into isolation. I recall so many moments throughout my life where I was surrounded by people but never felt more alone. The truth was that I had been searching for answers externally; I had been searching for belonging outside of myself.

When we are beguiled by non essentials, we tend to lose sight of the things that truly matter – we lose sight of ourselves too. When life moves at a pace we can’t keep up with, how can we tell if we are living on our terms anymore?

Now I find myself pregnant for the second time, looking back on one of the more challenging years of my life, and I can’t help but compare it to when I was pregnant with my daughter – a time I can only describe as happy. And as I sit with this thought I’m reminded of these words:

“…to be happy is not to have a sky without storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves.”

Pope Francis

We’ve been living through unprecedented times, which can create a lot of fear and anxiety within us. In the face of the unknown, we’ve been challenged to be brave as we acknowledge that life isn’t about ignoring the difficulties but finding the strength to participate in whatever comes our way with an open heart. Can we learn to find the deeper meaning in what we go through?

We need to lean into and explore our experiences as every experience we encounter has a profound impact on who we are – it changes us on a cellular level. And it’s not so much the experience itself, but the meaning we choose to assign to it.

In moments of chaos and fear, we can find new ways of being and powerful ways of impacting those around us. You never know when your story could become a page in someone else’s survival guide… So let me share with you what this challenging time has taught me:

I’ve learned how important it is to slow down and tune in. If we can allow ourselves the time and space to make the unconscious conscious, then that is where change can happen – that is where the magic happens.

I’ve learned that acceptance involves endlessly making space within myself, even for things that I find hard to face. That space allows me to receive everything as it is and as it happens.

I’ve learned that it is often not the situation itself that makes us unhappy but how we choose to think of it. When we slow down, tune in and find acceptance – we dilute our conditioned and overwhelming influx of thoughts and find new perspective.

I’m learning (because this one is hard) to let go, especially when I am no longer called to the energy I want. Letting go doesn’t mean that we don’t care, it just frees us to be immersed in the now – to see what is in front of us rather than always looking behind or ahead; to stop worrying about what might happen and focus instead on what is happening.

I’ve learned that our beliefs govern our behaviour and a belief is just a thought we’ve convinced ourselves to be true. If your beliefs aren’t serving you, you can reframe them.

I’ve learned how important it is to find and stay aligned with our purpose. When you love your dharma, no matter what you are doing, you will never feel alone. Finding our purpose in life is often about discovering where we fit in.

I’ve learned that I can’t control what happens, but I can control how I respond to it. Our struggles help us stumble upon our strengths and sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is the one our soul has been seeking the most.

I’ve learned that everything in life is calling us to grow. Progress gives us a sense of fulfillment and when we focus on our progress, we get to take ownership of our lives.

I’ve learned just how important it is to own our story and own who we are. When we do this, we learn to be intentional with the energy we bring into a space as we stand in the power of our truth.

Every time life knocks us down, we pick ourselves back up – as often as it takes us to come back to ourselves. It may feel like we have taken the long way home, but the journey will be worth it. Looking back on all I have learned and how these lessons are ultimately what have taught me to know happiness in my life, I am reminded of the quote:

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”


So can you tell me, what is the deeper meaning to what you have been going through?

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