It’s not About You! Or Is it?

Ever since someone uttered the words – don’t write about me in your blog – all hell has broken loose!

How can I not write about you now?

You know how that goes right? Someone tells you “no!”

And so. For instance.

Because my father is a sculptor, I spent many, many hours walking through the Memorial Art Gallery in my home town of Rochester, NY where I was admonished, “Don’t touch!”

Guess what? I ran my fingers over the cool stone figures of Henry Moore. The smooth wood of Wendell Castle. The rough stone of the sarcophagus in the hall at the top of the stairs. Did I actually breach the barrier to experience the tactile textures of the paintings in oil?

Was I that bold?

Would I have been so compelled if I hadn’t been dared to not touch?

Here’s the thing. I understood already, at a very young age. What I could get away with touching and what I couldn’t. No. I didn’t touch the paintings. Yes yes yes! I thoroughly loved the sensations of the sculptures that begged for more than just eyes to appreciate their beauty. But. I knew the limitations. Too many touches can harm delicate pieces. I would never!

Discernment.

And so. Today. A friend asked. Who are you talking about in your posts?

Long pause.

Well friend.

It doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s one person. Maybe it’s another. What does it matter really?

Aren’t we all dealing with similar suffering? Aren’t we all trying to find peace?

Maybe in a post you see a workmate. Maybe you see a family member.

Maybe you see yourself.

All of  life, like great art, needs to be examined, explored, touched. In all the ways you possibly can. Be discerning. Delve deeper when you should.  Even when some will admonish you not to.

Mountains and Mole Hills and Cats

We were on vacation a few months ago. It was my turn to drive the rental car. My first time behind the wheel was on a very busy California highway.  I was constantly panicked by how close, large, and looming all the cars appeared behind me and next to me as I checked my rearview mirrors.

Finally, I thought to actually turn my head and glance over my shoulder. Such relief!

“What the bleep! What is up with these mirrors? They’re scaring the bleep out of me!”

“Mom. It says right on the mirror, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”

Oh. And duh. “Yuh. And bigger and scarier!”

Isn’t that life? Turns out that the cars in the mirror weren’t such the big deal I was making them out to be. They weren’t in my way. I wasn’t going to cause an 18 car pile up by changing lanes. My perspective was just a little funky.

The mirrors were making Mountains out of Mole Hills.

And so.

Lately I’ve been working to catch myself. Am I looking into a rental car mirror? What’s the real situation here? Am I Making Mountains out of Mole Hills?

Pema Chodron explains an aspect of this:

The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.

I love the last line. “We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.” You know. No Mole Hills into Mountains.

And now for the cats.

Whenever a box or a bag comes into the house. One or both of the cats inevitably figures out a way to get inside. They are so very curious.

See. You can learn stuff from cats. Be curious today.

To Be Strong and Sensitive

I am very lucky. I always have been. And I’ve always known it.

Because I have a very kind heart. I was born with it. No choice.

I feel everything. Everything that you’re feeling. All the good. All the bad.

I take it into my heart.

Whether I want to or not.

For years and years. I couldn’t bear to win a hand of cards if it meant you were sad to lose.

How to manage that?

It’s a blessing. It’s a curse.

Where is the wisdom to know when to win? How many years has it taken to figure that out?

Many. Many!

I’ve always thought I am tough as nails. That I could take the loss better than you. How arrogant!

But. Turns out. I never noticed. Until lately. How easily I bruise.

Just like you.

And so.

Here’s the best thing. Being a mom. Has taught me to take care of myself. Because I want my boys to know that their mom is as tough as nails. And kind. And a winner at cards.

And that is what I want for my boys. To be strong. And sensitive.

(And to win at cards!)

So you see.

I am tough as nails! And. I do bruise easily.

Oh happy wisdom!

An Olive Branch

Crazy life. The best you can do is to accept it.

Because friends turn to enemies and enemies to friends. And back again. And again.

Because our paths will always cross.

Because we can’t go backward.

But forward. Into the present.

And so.

Resentment. Fear. Anger. Bitterness.

Can turn to Compassion.

For yourself. For your enemies. For your friends. For all beings.

What else can we do?

May all beings be healthy.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings live with ease.

I Woke Up Today

Every now and again. You receive an unexpected gift. I got one last night as I opened a forwarded e-mail.

It was in the wrapping of silly, petty behavior.

Isn’t life too short?

Yes!!

And so.

The stink of pettiness cleared my head as if it were ammonia carbonate. Oh! I get it! I’m awake!

The resentment I was feeling regarding the entire situation drifted away. This behavior I am witness to. Only suggests that the leveler has no other recourse. No other ability to act in any other way.

With that realization came compassion. Because. I wonder. If beneath the cloak of this unskillful biting, there is confusion, and fear and pain. And maybe a sense of being trapped? Who can say for sure.

But. I suppose. While I’ll continue to take a few more bites and stings here and there. It isn’t my burden. And. By letting go of this resentment I can finally again see that at the heart of everyone. Lies Basic Goodness.