At illustrator Monica Ramos‘ website, we stumbled on a section called

🙁

“Sometimes I want to fall off the face of the Earth”
A solo show about about feeling overwhelmed and lost. 

Overwhelmed and lost is a feeling we know well, and hear about frequently from friends. Ramos’ image vividly describes the dual nature of anger, hyper-criticism and self-loathing, which when turned inward, can be very hard to bear or contain. We found this mind-shift from Buddhist wise-man Thich Nhat Hanh works wonders for moving gently through obstructive thinking:

Monica Ramos
Monica Ramos

Do not turn your mind into a battlefield. Do not have a war there; for all your feelings —joy, sorrow, anger, hatred—are part of yourself. Awareness is like an elder brother or sister, gentle and attentive, who is there to guide and enlighten. It is a tolerant and lucid presence, never violent or discriminating. It is there to recognized and identify thoughts and feelings, not to judge them as good or bad, or place them into opposing camps in order to fight with each other. Opposition between good and bad is often compared to light and dark, but if we look at it in a different way, we will see that when light shines, darkness does not disappear; it merges with the light. It becomes the light.

A while ago I invited my guest to smile. To meditate does not mean to fight the problem. To meditate means to observe. Your smile proves it. It proves that you are being gentle with yourself, that the sun of awareness is shining in you, that you have control of the situation. You are yourself, and you have acquired some peace.* 

Poet and musician Patti Smith also spoke of the power of smiling to ease pain.

I just sit and physically make myself smile. Because sometimes it makes you laugh, and then you go, ‘All right.’”

In another part of Ramos’ website, we found an image of “All right” in… “Just Swim

Monica Rmaos
Monica Ramos

*from Thich Nhat Hanh’s great The Sun My Heart

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One thought on “A Mindshift for When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed and Lost

  1. *lions and tigers and bears ! *
    ..came to mind looking at the.swim-image : )

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