“The salmon offer us a way to face truth without shutting down. They show us how leaning into our experience, though we don’t like the hit, moves us on. Time and again, though we’d rather turn away, it is the impact of being revealed, through our willingness to be vulnerable, that enables us to experience both mystery and grace.”
From The Art of Facing Things in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo
He describes how salmon turn their underside – from center to tail – into the powerful current of the water coming at them, how the force hits them squaraely and the impact launches them further up the waterfall. They do this over and over again, moving upstream. By leaning into what they face, they move further along their journey.
I was left reflecting on what has happened to me when I was brave enough to turn my soft belly of vulnerability toward what was coming at me?
Sitting in stillness was one of the key ways I coped with my cancer diagnosis. My vulnerability was putting my feelings on paper, and then sharing them with others – first my husband Jim then my parents and my friends and others on a similar journey and then here completely out in the open.
Each of Mr. Nepo’s daily inspirational readings includes a meditation. I wanted to share the one that goes the reading:
- Sit quietly and meditate on the last time you opened yourself to the life coming at you.
- In recalling this, try to focus on three things:
- the way that opening yourself caused you to unfold
- the way that being hit squarely change our life position
- where leaping like a salmon landed you
- Breath steadily, and invite the lessons of opening, being changed, and landing into your heart.
- Breathe slowly, and realize that you are in this process now.
- Relax and turn the belly of your heart toward the day.