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Sunday Chores: It’s All About Perspective

danceinthekitchenAbout ten years ago I was in a supervisory meeting and was asked how I was feeling about my life in general.

I was happy. Deeply happy. My son was at, what I thought then, was the perfect age (around 7 or 8 years old). My career was both paying the bills and meaningful. I was single, but content going home to my own space, and feeling safe when I closed the door. I had time to concentrate on the spiritual elements of my life, and I took the time to be creative; painting, singing, writing, playing.

It’s been a long ten years.

Shortly after that I entered into one of the most difficult and enlightening relationships of my life. It fundamentally changed my perception of the world, it challenged me to re-think what it was I really wanted and expected from relationship. Most importantly, it made me even more deeply grateful for the simple life I had as a two-person-parent-and-child household.

During the past ten years, my son remained at what I always thought was the perfect age. As his birthdays passed,  I remained in tremendous awe of watching this person unfold and grow into who he was meant to be.

My needs changed, and my career became a source of grief. I left a place that had a piece of my heart and started over. I started over again after that, and then one more time until I found what I needed.

Ten years. A decade. The wheel has turned full circle.

I’m happy.

My son, towering over me is doing all of the things that a young man his age should be doing; asking to take the car out on dates, goofing around with the guys, getting his grades in order, and excelling in a sport that has the right people watching.

How can mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning and making mothering a priority be considered cumbersome now? I just can’t see it that way.

Even though my thoughts upon waking were a list of must-do’s today; cooking so there is food in the house for my long week of shift work, cleaning so home feels like home, not a shelter,getting my taxes in order, and of course, the creative finances of a single income home.  These are all chores of a charmed life, and I am grateful.

Wishing you enough peace and joy in your heart that you can clearly see your blessings, even it they’re dressed in an apron and sweeping the floor.

 

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Cat Vomit & Alarm Clocks: A Meditation

buddhist catI love no-alarm-clock days. They make me feel like I’m spoiling myself a little bit.

No-alarm-clock-days are few and far between in this house, and today was no exception. Although, just before my alarm was set to wake me up to the sounds of weekend jazz, the wild-cat we adopted this year began a lovely chorus of guttural vomiting. It’s a good thing he’s so darn cute.

For some reason the cat vomit made me think about some of the people I’d interacted with this week.  Isn’t if strange how our minds work?

Anyway, my unsupervised mind turned to those folks who had spoken or acted unkindly and/or unethically. The needle for arse-holes has been pushed into the red this week.

I began to wonder what on earth made them tick, and then I stopped.

You see, all of the yucky stuff boils down to insecurity, greed, anger, jealousy…which really further reduces to one singular element; fear. Fear must feel exactly like our little wild cat felt this morning – gut-wrenchingly nauseated.

Despite snuggling into my big, soft, duvet covered bed, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Instead, I picked up my Fall 2015 edition of Trycicle magazine which features buddhist perspectives on how to deal with difficult emotions. This quote from Daisy Hernandez’s article, Envidia made me laugh out loud;

It was the second or third night of the workshop, close to midnight, when I sat on the very cold bed in that dorm room in Texas and realized that I hated at least three of my friends and a woman I knew only marginally.

The reason that I thought it was so funny was because I could totally relate.  I’d been that woman, in retreat, alone at midnight in her dorm room. I’d been held captive with my own mind in silence for days at a time within a group of people, who in silence made me think that I was, they were, that we were somehow above feeling anything but blissful-unicorn-joy-and-loving-kindness toward the world.

inthemomentWhen I first started attending longer retreats I had difficulty. By the second full day of silence, my mind was like a heroine addict going through withdrawal, and the sound of anyone shuffling in meditation, or masticating during our silent meals made me want to stealthily creep out of my perfectly-spiritual skin and glue their ass to the mat or cram their vegetarian-tofu eggs down their throat. Needless to say, days three and four got incrementally better.

No one that I know of ever went home in a body bag because they were suffocated by tofu-eggs (tofu eggs by the way, are a sin against nature), nor did anyone have to have their meditation cushion surgically removed from their hiney.

I wish I could say I  was immune to all of the wonderfully difficult emotions that I was mulling over in my early-morning-cat-vomit-addled-mind this morning. I wish I could say I am always kind and angelic, and gentle. I’m not.

I do my best, and yet I still cherish my  fiery Irish-tempered side. It protects my heart and gives me something to hang on to when it gets broken. I believe in balancing light and dark and observing those thoughts. This is one of the most effective, inexpensive, therapeutic techniques to keep us living a meaningful existence.

Sometimes, it’s the cat vomit (fear, anger, jealousy) of life that serves as a meditation bell, bringing us back to our own thoughts, our own space, and our own choosing how we wish to show up in the world every day.

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