The Day I Almost Cursed at a Buddhist Nun

Posted on Feb 1, 2016

nun-monas1It was 2009 and I was making my first tentative steps on the path of “wellness.” I needed to take better care of my self and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So, I joined a coaching group for support and accountability.

We met once a month for 3 hours. The leader provided a safe place to explore the challenges we were experiencing trying to be good mothers while holding on to our own identities.   She occasionally brought in speakers to further our growth—mind, body and spirit.

The Buddhist nun was once of these speakers. We started the meeting the usual way, sharing the triumphs and struggles we encountered over the past month.

The previous session, a nutritionist came to speak to us about healthy eating and “super foods.” I was so excited to report to the group that I had tried a new grain: wheatberries, I made them for my family instead of rice. It was a success and I was feeling really proud of myself.

Out of nowhere, the nun said, “Were the wheatberries sprouted? Because if they are not sprouted, you’re not really getting the nutritional benefits.”

My initial response was a chain reaction that went something like this: “Who the fuck are you? What the fuck are you talking about? Who asked you anyway? Why don’t you sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up!” Needless to say, this was just my inner dialog and I did not say anything to the nun.

She had really triggered my “no matter what I do, it’s not enough” button. Maybe you have this button too.

Trying to calm down from this reaction, I changed my inner dialog and said, “I am sure she has good intentions. She is just trying to help you and has no idea that she just wounded you.” I took several deep breaths and tried to tune into what she was there to teach us: mindfulness.

As I mentioned before, it was a group of women meeting for 3 hours. A bathroom break was required at the 90-minute mark. In the bathroom, we were joking around and I said to my peers that I was trying to “be good” about drinking more water but I had to pee all the time.

The nun piped up again and said, “That’s because you aren’t drinking the right way. You’re gulping it. If you sipped it, you wouldn’t have this problem.”


Here’s the thing, she pushed my button (BITCH!), but the button is my responsibility.

The “no matter what I do, it’s not enough” button is a painful remnant of the years I inflicted unrelenting standards on myself. It is a form of perfectionism that I have battled for decades.

I have learned a lot from years of combating the unrelenting standards bitch that lives in my head:

  • I know this button leads to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, hopelessness and depression.
  • I know I do not want to feel this way.
  • I know that I have the power change my response when the button is pushed.
  • I know I don’t have to worry about doing enough because I AM ENOUGH.

Now, I thank this asshole nun for giving me the opportunity to battle my demons and be victorious again.

Plus, every time I think of her, I have a good laugh.