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Lions Roar : March 2019
ADVICE FOR DIFFICULT TIMES Time to Say Goodbye Leaving a relationship may seem like an escape or failure, but TRUDY GOODMAN says it can be the best choice for everyone. Question: We have many ups and downs in life, particularly in relationships. Buddhism seems to teach that we should keep trying through all rela- tionship challenges no matter what. But is there a point at which I can say the relation- ship is over? Answer: It’s true that Bud- dhism offers us immeasur- able spiritual riches and practical skills for meeting all our fellow humans with loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity—no matter what. Yet, when we’re mindful in a relationship, we see how difficult it is to stay open-hearted and sensitive to each other and ourselves. Yes, it’s essential to have a con- scious commitment to staying connected even through the inevitable disconnections that happen, for without overarching loving awareness and inten- tion, as soon as there’s a big disappoint- ment, all of the love and trust we’ve built together can go down the drain of reac- tivity, making it harder to reconnect in a tender way. When a relationship has become truly unhealthy, it may be time to leave and acknowledge it’s over. Then it’s not about failing to try hard enough; it’s just that the experience of pleasure and pain, love and hurt, peace and conflict has tipped out of balance for too long. Any rewarding relationship, whether with family, friends, coworkers, or part- ners, has nonharming at its core. Metta, or loving-kindness, is essentially about protection—protecting oneself and each other from inner and outer harm. I was actually surprised to discover that the Buddha said clearly that while it’s best to balance caring for self and others, if that’s not possible, protecting oneself comes before protecting others! Keeping this in mind, you can make decisions about what may ultimately serve you, and others, best. And remember that no one can tell you when it’s time to leave a relationship, so this is where our practice of mindful- ness and metta can be our guide. ♦ ©ALEKSANDRAKOVAC/STOCKSYUNITED TRUDY GOODMAN is the founding teacher of InsightLA and cofounder of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy in Boston. Send your question to email@example.com NUNS IN THE HIMALAYAS The Pema Chödrön Foundation’s support helps ensure that nuns in Nepal, Bhutan and India have the same equal opportunities for deep practice and study as monks have always had. AT rISk popULATIoNS Pema is committed to supporting organizations that work to protect and nurture at-risk populations, particularly women and youth who are in challenging circumstances. THE Book INITIATIVE Pema’s books and recorded teachings are offered to underserved individuals and the organizations that support them, around the world, free of charge. THE BUDDHIST MoNASTIC TrADITIoN Pema is dedicated to help guide and support her home monastery, Gampo Abbey, as well as monastic settings in Asia and the West. OUR ONLINE BOOKSTORE: You can purchase Pema’s books, CDs and DVDs along with her archived teachings at our online bookstore. Free Shipping in the USA. THE pEMA CHöDröN FoUNDATIoN SUpporTS: pEMACHoDroNFoUNDATIoN.org LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 17