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Cover It All in Leather

Or… Just Wrap Leather Around Your Feet


In our last +1, we tapped into some wisdom from Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness as we wrote ourselves a permission slip and then hopped on the bus.

📝 🚌

Today we’re going to spend some more time with Brené. And, we’ll invite Pema Chodrön to the party.

Brené tells us: “I love Pema Chodrön’s ‘Lousy World’ teaching on this topic. In it, Chodrön uses the lessons of the Indian Buddhist monk Shantideva to make a very powerful analogy about moving through the world constantly pissed off and disappointed. …

[She says]: “We’re laughing, but that’s what we all do. That is how we approach things. We think, if we could just get rid of everything and cover it with leather, our pain would go away. Well, sure, because then it wouldn’t be cutting our feet anymore. It’s just logical, isn’t it? But it doesn’t make any sense, really. Shantideva said, ‘But if you simply wrap leather around your feet.’ In other words, if you put on shoes then you could walk across the boiling sand and the cut glass and the horns, and it wouldn’t bother you. So the analogy is, if you work with your mind, instead of trying to change everything on the outside, that’s how your temper will cool down.'”

As you may know, Pema Chodrön is a Buddhist monk and teacher. (We have Notes on two of her great books: When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You.)

You can watch that wonderful 2.5-minute YouTube video of her “Lousy World” teaching here.

Short story: We complain about everything and everyone. All the time.

It’s too hot. It’s too cold. He smells bad. She’s wearing too much perfume.

All day every day.

We think the answer is to change the world—to lay leather over all the thorns and rocks in our way. The answer, of course, is to simply wrap a little leather over our feet and voila!

Problem solved.

btw: Here’s how Shantideva puts it The Way of the Bodhisattva:

To cover all the earth with sheets of leather—
Where could such amounts of skin be found?
But with the leather soles of just my shoes
It is as though I cover all the earth!

That’s Today’s +1.

Let’s wrap some leather (vegan alternatives available) around our feet (and brains) and joyfully walk through the wilderness of life.