When Simone Biles decided to withdraw from the Olympic final competition this week due to the emotional toll of the Olympics, not a physical injury, I felt shocked. Not because of the withdrawal itself but because of her courage to be able to be true to herself, in spite of the huge stake she was handling. I don’t think I ever saw an athlete (or any famous public figures) of Simone Bile’s stature admit the immense suffering they were having due to the weight of the performance or status they need to show or maintain. I simply felt so inspired by her skillful effort as she embodied the self-compassion in the face of the strong performance-driven culture.
In the performance-driven culture we live in day in and day out, it’s so easy to ignore the unwholesome state we face each moment to achieve or create an “impact”. We overwork ourselves and say yes to everything. We live in the never-ending world of rumination, torturing ourselves with the question: “Why couldn’t I have done better than others?” Or we obsessively plan the future in anxiety. Throughout this, we don’t make skillful efforts to address such unwholesome states, sometimes not even recognizing that they are unwholesome. “Powering through” or “toughen up” in the unwholesome state isn’t resilience. Resilience is about being able to bounce back from the unwholesome state, with clear discernment of the unwholesome state.
Then how can we make skillful efforts in addressing such unwholesome states? In the course I am taking from Spirit Rock right now, I learned a helpful framework called “P.A.C.E (Prevent, Abandon, Cultivate, and Extend)”
- Prevent: Prevent unwholesome mindsets from arising (fear, judgment, worry, anger,…) always mindfully.
- Abandon: Abandon or overcoming the unwholesome states that are already arisen. It’s not giving up. This is about clearly identifying when it is unwholesome and knowing when not to engage when it doesn’t feel wholesome. We got to know when to engage and when to walk away.
- Cultivate: Cultivate the wholesome mind state by continuously noticing what is good, kind, and loving. Once we get to acknowledge our mind state, we can engage with it properly.
- Extend/Expand: Extend (or expand) the wholesome state beyond myself to others or environment through…