| Anne C. Williamson | Originally posted January 20, 2015

I'm sitting here listening to my husband try to teach our daughter how to calm down through breathing. The source of her exasperation: bread. She loves it and usually has to wait for it to toast and get smeared with peanut butter. This lapse in time often proves too much, and she begins to meltdown. Of course, her response is disproportionate - as her parents, at least one of our jobs is to make sure, as an adult, she doesn't erupt in tears at the bagel shop; but, I do relate to her passion, even admire it a little.   

This struggle echoes in my spiritual journey: I want peace, wholeness, the "undistracted state" as Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön calls it, but I also fear this state will tamper my passion. I love bread too... er, I mean life and justice. Can we be both passionate about life and "zen"? It's confusing because both eastern and western spiritual philosophies have taught life itself is the distraction. But, isn't life also the joy? Isn't it the people and environments, the food and good fights that offer us meaning, that offer purpose? 

This is where I love when Pema Chödrön, in the below video, talks about being wide-awake. Yes, life can distract; this is undeniable. But, detoxing from these distractions doesn't mean the end of joy, passion, purpose. Instead, the undistracted state means we're wide-awake to experience life more deeply, to taste more acutely, to fight fairer, to love better. It's life #nofilter.