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the Presence Point

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On Grumpiness

On Grumpiness

photo by Sarah Lipton

Article orginally published on The Shambhala Times, and reposted a year ago. Somehow, it was the right thing to publish this week as well...


I am experiencing a deep sense of heartbreak.
The rampant fear pervading our society in the wake of the elections does not represent what I long for.
It doesn't matter who you voted for, we can all agree that fear has won out. This makes me exceedingly grumpy. It also inspires deep conviction in me that NOW IS THE TIME. It is the time to feel, to be present, to be kind.
So let's investigate how to work with this moment a little bit...



It’s a grumpy time of year. It’s raining, the leaves have fallen, the kale is wilting in the garden, and the skies are mostly grey. An extremely painful election season has just concluded. I am shocked at the outcomes. How did we come to this?!

I sigh, breathe out and feel some kind of tender rawness. I’m grumpy. More than grumpy. But I’m starting to think it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a wellspring of depth, a source of creativity and inspiration here in this misty, moist mind-space. Things feel possible, not stuck. But things are not what I want them to be. It’s almost like the grumpiness is a physical reaction to resting with things as they are. I’m not caught up in a fantasy of how I want things to be, and there’s a grittiness to my experience. Things just are as they are. It’s tender. It’s a little scary, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s real, earthy, pungent.

Deep down in the underbelly of the mountains, where trolls and other dark creepy-crawlies live, down deep, where the water comes from, are the roots of things. The roots of our thoughts, the lineage of our emotions and experience arises out of this deep, dark space. It must be why dragons dive deep down into the mountains, must be where they collect the dew that glistens on their scales when they ascend to fly high above, sparkling in the air. Without the creative renewal of diving back to our roots, we remain rootless, ungrounded, untethered to reality as it is.

When we ground down to our roots we are more able to open up to the truth of reality. For me, there is a flavor of sadness to this truth. Sadness and joy as well. I begin to taste the true soil of my experience and it allows me to slowly spread my wings and soar up through misty clouds into the fearless, directionless, sun filled space of reality. The joy is recognizing the power of conviction, the power of love, the power of fearless presence.

On this November 9th, this day after the most contentious election in memory, I ask you to be earthy. Feel grumpy. Trust the roots and ride the tides. We do not need to overcome grumpiness. But we can learn how to ride the grump with patience. We can even engage a sense of cheerfulness because we are willing to feel. This then is what we can offer society.

Tasting reality, as it is, right now, this very moment. Even in the midst of heartbreak.


Please reach out to one another. We need to stick together. The world needs us to rise to the challenge of our times and offer kindness and love and genuine presence.

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