Happier New Year

January 19, 2021  by Dr. Suki Munsell

Our Enemy is our
Greatest Teacher

~ the Dalai Lama

Turning Angst into Action

As I watched Greta Thunberg in conversation with the Dalai Lama last weekend, I heard him say  “Our enemy is our greatest teacher.” Although I’ve heard this before, it struck deeply.

My mind leaped to the news reports of our county’s political convulsions, violent images, bodies clashing.

I feel a visceral reaction – confusion, anxiety, anger. Washington, D.C. is my home town. I can feel myself there. Our Nation’s capital violated.

I noticed how quickly I make the other the enemy.  Immediate blame. Justified, but not a happy place to feel.

I can make the gas and oil companies and their disinformation campaign responsible for their role in the environmental crisis. Feelings of betrayal. Incredulity. Profit above people. But I use their products – gas, oil, and plastics.

Blaming leaves me feeling stuck. How can I mobilize those raw emotions into action?

I re-read All We can Save, Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, short, personalized essays from women at the forefronts of the climate revolution. I share this book with others towards turning my angst into action – enemy into teacher. 

I can make my inherited genes responsible for some of my health issues. But blaming my family puts me in a powerless position.

I watched my mother battle insomnia for too many years, making her grumpy and sapping her vitality. All too familiar.

Not wanting to go my mother’s route, I greeted insomnia as my teacher. By changing my daytime habits – attention to my *circadian rhythms, times to sleep, eat, drink, exercise and turn off my mind, I sleep 90% better, long and deep, most nights. When I wake, instead of worrying, I’ve reprogrammed myself to relax and return to sleep.  *See Russell’s link, below on circadian rhythms.

Scoliosis may have been in my genes, or the result of self-inflicted sports injuries during my youthful, seemingly invulnerable years. Managing the resulting sciatica has been another great teacher. Either stay connected to my body or face the painful consequences. Plus, I use what I’ve learned to teach others how they can avoid it.

What comes to mind for you? What and who fall into your enemy camp? How do you break free of the raw, jagged, stuck energy? How do you mobilize it to serve you rather than bind you?

When I look at our Dynamic Vitality logo, I see the the dark and light, the yin and yang of life, the constant play of opposites. I choose to walk the middle path between the two great lines of force.

Let us walk together.