When life hands you exactly what you need.

Some days, you just get handed the things you need to hear, see, experience, and feel.

Today was one of those days.

I was driving into the city for the Propelle Mastermind this morning and decided to put on a podcast. It’s something I will occasionally do, particularly if I know I’m going to be stuck in traffic for a while. I looked through my podcast list and settled onto an episode of 10% Happier. It was the very first time I had listened to it, and chose the episode with Sharon Salzberg due to the topic (meditation).

Within the first five minutes, I had tears streaming down my face.

Not out of sadness, but out of relief.

Two things Salzberg said resonated to my core.

  1. There is suffering in life.
  2. Just be a good enough parent.

The first, is a core tenet of Buddhist philosophy: there is suffering in life. To quote Salzberg:

I heard The Buddha saying right out loud that there is suffering in life. That if you’re in pain you’re not aberrant, you’re not weird, you shouldn’t feel left out and that you shouldn’t feel excluded. Which is exactly how I did feel.

She also went on to talk about that suffering and the ways in which we hold onto the pain of that experience.

Do you hold it in isolation or with a sense of connection? Do you hate yourself and your life or do you have compassion for what you’re going through and therefor for others.

I’m pretty sure my brain was exploding. She had managed to sum up everything I have been feeling (and wrote about yesterday) in the most succinct way possible.

The second nugget she shared had to do with parenting and bearing witness to your child’s suffering.

THIS is the nugget that made me cry.

In my car.

While sitting in traffic.

Salzberg was recounting a story about teaching with her friend, Dr. Mark Epstein and his favorite thing to say when teaching others about mindfulness. He would tell the audience, just be a good enough parent.

From the podcast:

Someone in the room always says, “Well, what’s a good enough parent?” And Mark says it’s someone who can survive their child’s rage. Someone says, “What does it mean to survive your child’s rage?” And Mark says, not to be invasive, and also not to be rejecting. To have a stance where you can kind of hold the pain and be, and be open. And I always say, well that’s mindfulness. 

The rest of the interview was quite interesting, and one that I’m immensely glad to have stumbled upon.

What about you? Do these concepts resonate with you as well? What have you been handed recently that came at the exact right time in the exact right form?

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

2 thoughts on “When life hands you exactly what you need.

  1. Kelley Beeson

    Hey Emily- I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never comment but this post was really lovely and you provided a ‘what you need’ moment for you by sharing YOUR ‘what you needed’ moment. Yay for the circle of life! : ) And Sharon Salzburg – love her. I’m not a parent but the advice is true for life in general as well. Good stuff! And you inspired me to start doing some smoothies for breakfast! Hooray! Love this blog – Go Emily!


    1. Emily Levenson

      Kelley!!! Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so glad that you got what you needed from that post. And I am excited to begin digging into her books/teachings.

      And hooray for smoothies! What have been your favorite combinations to date? xo


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