Insights At The Edge: Living with Vulnerability with Pema Chodron

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This unique podcast with beloved meditation teacher Ani Pema Chödrön is a rebroadcast of a webinar we created together to introduce people to the topic of “living with vulnerability.”
As part of the original webinar, a listener called in and asked Ani Pema how to handle living with a terrible feeling of regret and the associated sadness she feels. Here is what Ani Pema said in response:
“Sad is good. Let sadness be a connector for you with humanity. Let sadness connect you with life. Life has sadness and life has joy … life has hard times and life has beautiful times. It’s a complete picture, and you can’t live a human life without all those aspects being a part of it. It is some kind of myth that you could avoid all the painful parts and just have the pleasant parts. That’s definitely never going to happen. Everybody tries and it never happens. They keep trying anyway. So the fact that it hurts and you feel sad, think of that as actually good. Think of that as growth, that sometimes that is what growth feels like.”
I love this answer from Ani Pema. Not because I love sadness but because I am so tired of the avoidance of sadness being portrayed as some type of badge of accomplishment.
And as Ani Pema states very clearly in this conversation about living with vulnerability, when we avoid some part of our life that we find too difficult or uncomfortable, we end up closing down to life in general.
In this podcast, Ani Pema and I discuss what it takes to turn toward and embrace our vulnerabilities. We also discuss:
  • How to feel regret without guilt, and send kindness to the person we were who acted in an unskillful way
  • How to stay with our embodied experience when intense emotions arise
  • What it means to “make friends with our minds” and the importance of noticing the tone of voice we use when we talk to ourselves
  • The pure physicality of grief—Ani Pema shares a personal experience of staying present with intense anguish over the course of an entire night and the insights that emerged
  • The vulnerability that comes from living with a chronic illness, and again Ani Pema shares personally, this time about what she learned from her own 20-year journey with chronic fatigue


Listen to Podcast Here


When we turn toward instead of away from our vulnerabilities, we begin to unlock what Ani Pema calls “unconditional confidence,” a bank or storehouse of energy that is always available to help us move forward. In my experience, it is the embrace of the totality of our experience that both connects us to other people and opens the way.
With love on the journey,
Tami Simon
Founder and Publisher, Sounds True
P.S. To learn more about the full online training program with Pema Chödrön called Living with Vulnerability, please click here.
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