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What is forward?

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in December, 2017, Pema Chödrön shared that during her life, she has had an instinctual inner sense of what is forward. That really stayed with me, the idea, question, and inner sense for each of us of what is forward.

At a recent group therapy session, I offered to participants the invitation (the option) to reflect between now and the next session on this inner sense of what is forward for each of them, what feels intuitively like forward with respect to this journey they are each on in their lives (a journey that includes curiosity and the cultivation of compassion including in relation to one’s own being, experiences, and self).

What is forward? What is forward right now? What is forward in/for just this very moment?

In addition to anything else that arises from one’s inner wisdom and sense during any given moment, I will propose a few potential starting points.

Forward is gentleness.

Forward is spaciousness.

Forward is trying to meet oneself and whatever is arising or coming forward in any given moment with spaciousness, which is different than a kind of automatic tendency to tighten.

Sketch by Tracy Riley, March 2019.


The interview/conversation between Oprah Winfrey and Pema Chödrön I mention above can be listened to as a podcast episode (December 11, 2017) found on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations Podcast (available on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and possibly other places). With respect to forward, Pema was speaking in relation to a decision she made in her life. She said, she sensed, “Doing it is forward. Not doing it is backward.” “It meant forward.” “My whole life, I’ve had that instinct of what’s forward.” In the interview, Pema also talks about the concept of spaciousness (among other things).