Stirring the Pot– A Note from Tari


“The main point of Buddhist teaching instructs us to move towards difficulties, not away. It is there … that we can begin to think of our life as offering endless opportunities and to start doing things differently.” – Pema Chodron

During lunch with a young friend this week, we discussed her age-appropriate process of making choices about career, realizing as she spoke that no option had a ‘success guarantee’. I was first struck how lucky she was to have choice. But in the end, she really has no choice. She must move forward with her life. In this conversation, I was again struck by the duality that cancer creates in our lives. (As with so many things.)

Unlike a career, cancer chooses us. The ‘C’-words that career and cancer share are two other  ‘C’-words: challenge and change.  No matter what my young friend ultimately chooses, it will challenge her. And no matter what her choice, it will change her life. The choice will not change her, rather give her the opportunity to polish the jewel she already is.

Careers, like cancer, present us with questions and challenges, and inevitably change us forever. Whether we chose them or not, it all makes us stronger.  Try as we might to control the outcomes of our choices, we cannot. The future is full of uncertainty. That and fear are the largest stone on the path. Try not to control it. Instead, take the path through fear and into the future. Stop for a second, take a breath, put aside doubt and begin to polish the moment. There is no cure for the fact that life is NOW.
My advise to my young friend was to take the path less traveled even though there were visible challenges the size of boulders along the way. She wrote me later that my comments stirred the pot of her thinking. I was pleased.  A pot well and strongly ‘stirred’ can only bring forth a good stew… and other good things.

Walk through your fears to opportunity and a cure.

Walk through your fears to find life.


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