The older I get the more nourished I am by poetry, and Pema Chodron is a poet I love.
As a writer I’m pretty much at home with metaphors. People talk a lot about soul and they talk about spirit. The soul, to me, is like the flame that can get snuffed out, and the spirit is like the glass chimney that contains it, that keeps the soul from being extinguished. If your spirit is low, your life is low.
I don’t think it’s a male/female thing, but I think women are probably more at home talking about their spiritual life because it informs everything else. It informs your whole life. If your spirit is strong, your life is strong. So you’ve got to pay attention to it.
I think one of Pema Chodron’s great insights is to mine negative feelings; to not run from them, to sit with them and to really allow them to become teachers. She has many things to say, but that was one of the first things that struck me as really worth thinking about. And I’ve tried to do it. It’s so easy to want to run from negative feelings. But those are the ones that can probably teach you more: the things you’re afraid of.
I remember thinking that I’d discovered Eckhart Tolle for myself all alone. Of course, he was a household word in all of California by the time I stumbled onto him. But it’s fun to do that: to find someone who says something that is so true and straight. It just sheds light on your life.