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Archive for September, 2011

Occasionally I am asked to puppy-sit my ex husband’s dog.  Why do I puppy-sit for my ex?  Well with a lot of soul searching and meditation on my part, counseling for both of us and a bit of medication on his part we found a way to get along for the sake of our daughter.  We built a friendship and worked very hard at being kind to each other and at the height of that he asked me to take care of his yorkie because she was diabetic and he didn’t trust anyone to take care of her, after all his children were all still alive how bad could it be? 

After an incident involving our second son our relationship was strained and I have to admit that I was distrustful of his friendship when, after 3 years of supporting each other, he had been so quick to accuse me of manipulating him the whole time.  I was hurting over his irate words and angry with myself for believing he had changed when his behavior had clearly indicated differently. 

Again, for the sake of our wonderful daughter we built back a tenuous civil relationship but I admit I never trusted or confided in him the way I had in the past.  Somewhere along the line he decides he is going to take our daughter for a weeklong trip to Disney.  He chooses September because the rates are good and there aren’t as many people.  Well the rates are good and the parks are not crowded because no one goes in September because it is the beginning of school!  I answered his email clearly expressing that missing the first full week of school was not a good idea for a child who struggles with memorizing information and taking tests.  She will fall behind and never catch up and the first trimester will be shot.  The trimester of the year colleges look at.  His answer: they were going anyway.  I was livid. 

As the date approached I got angrier and angrier and in an attempt to not make an already strained situation worse I avoided seeing him at drop off and pick up and I did not communicate with him because I knew I would say something that would, well, make things worse, actually I knew my words would make the situation over the top extreme.  By the time we reached the week before the trip, I was crazy.  My kids knew it; my daughter’s school knew it, my family knew it and I guess my ex got wind of my strong fanatical opinion of the trip.  He stopped talking to me and according to my children did not allow my name to be spoken in his house.  Well that didn’t go the way I planned. 

The day of the trip came.  Was I still getting the dog?  He has eliminated my name from his phone and my email from his computer I can’t possibly be still getting the dog, right?  Wrong. 

Rosie came with her insulin, syringes, leash and dog food.  She came without her cage or her owner who preferred to write the instructions for me rather than enter my house.  By this time I had talked to my daughter’s teachers, principle and special ed coordinator, most had assured me everything would be fine and to relax.  I went outside to discuss the puppy with him and it was fine. 

By denying my feelings I had made the whole situation worse.  But honestly I hadn’t kept my feelings to myself because by the second week of September everyone knew how I felt about the trip except the one who I was angry with.  I should say that I learned how to deal with this in the future.  I should say that there was a lesson in all of this and I got it, but I didn’t.  I will say the universe was not finished with me yet and isn’t it too bad this post is already too long.  I will also say that the next part of this story is much longer and far more difficult and you will just have to wait. 

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Finding Attachment

Labor Day weekend I was camping with my family.  I took my children to the End of the Year Pool Party.  It was nearly 100 degrees and so hot that the pool area was crowded and there were no seats to be had.  We managed to find a dry section of concrete to put our things and we jumped right in.  It was amazing.  The water was a welcomed respite from the heat and my children splashed around and showed off their new underwater skills while I listened to some of my favorite music.  Can I just say that I love music?  Honestly I think it is one of the reasons we all haven’t gone spiritually mad in this country.  (Most) music is a gift inspired by divine sources; it does depend on the music.  When I really listen to how all the pieces come together I can feel the Universal energy that went into it.  I think it connects us to each other and the Energy.

I was euphoric.  I let the music, the joy and the fun wash over me and had one of the best days ever.  I watched a grandmother play with her two young granddaughters in the water and thought; everyone should look at their children with that much joy on their face.  She reveled in them as we all should.  I was so spiritually connected I thought my skin was going to tingle off and start glowing.

Later in the afternoon my husband and son went back to the camper but my youngest had made a friend and wanted to stay, so I let the guys go and I moved to where the girls were playing to watch her better.  There was a family to my right getting ready to go, a couple of families actually. “Good,” I thought, “I’ll be able to sit down.”  I stood waiting.  They were taking an awful long time.  They were all packed up and were standing together talking.  I waited for someone to pick up the umbrella that was lying on the seat I wanted.  They continued talking.  Suddenly I became aware of how different my emotions were from merely a few minutes ago.  I had been completely filled with joy now I was angry.  Why can’t they just take that umbrella?  Can’t they see there are no seats anywhere! What if someone else comes and takes the seat.  It’s a perfect seat to watch the girls play on the waterslide.  Hurry up, hurry up, hur-ry up!

Wow.  It was in the wanting of something I felt I had the right to have that caused these intense negative feelings.  I don’t think I would have noticed them if I hadn’t been so at peace only a few moments ago.  When I had no place to sit I was joyful.  When I wanted for something I was angry.  Part of the message of enlightenment as well as many other religions is to not be attached to things and while we all know this sentiment it is often hard in our Western, materialistic, “the one who dies with the most toys wins,” society to really know what that means.  Can I at least have a house?  Clothes?  Do I have to give everything to the poor?  Well if I have to do that then I don’t want what you’re selling, buddy.  But if I can get that angry over a chair that wasn’t even mine how would I feel if someone took the things I did pay for, the things that do belong to me?  Or the things I think belong to me.  And is the wanting and emotional ownership of those things keeping me from finding the peace and contentment I yearn for?  So the real question is which do I want more?  The absolute joy that rippled through me when I had nothing or the things? 

I sat in the chair I felt I deserved for about three minutes then the girls moved to the larger pool.  I put my stuff back on the patch of concrete and went off to watch them.  I understand; attachment causes dukha (sorrow).  While I don’t feel I’m being called to leave all that I have to follow God, I do feel I am being asked to take a look at my life.  What am I holding onto that is not allowing me to find joy in my every breath.  Is it the huge amount of stuff filling my house?  Is it the things I buy to cheer myself up when I’m down?  What about the illusions I hold in my head of what my children should be, how they should behave and who they will grow to become?  The behavior I expect my husband to exhibit when I haven’t even told him what I would like?  The unrealistic expectations I hold for myself and never reach because honestly that is not where I am supposed to be right now.  Attachment is more than just possessions we need to let go of it is the thoughts and requirements we expect of ourselves and others that are sometimes so high no one could reach and sometimes is none of my business.  I am charged with teaching my children to be their best self but their life is just that theirs and all of their choices and experiences, good or bad, will come together to shape them into who they are meant to be.  I can’t micro manage that and I have to let them grow into themselves rather than into what I envision for them.  My husband, well I have to tell him what I need, love him for who he is and give him what he needs which is not the same as what I need.  As for myself, I need to be kinder to myself.  I need to expect less of what I think the world wants of me and allow myself to follow the path that is stretching out before me.  Letting go of stuff, that is the easy part, letting go of my expectations, now that is going to take some work.    

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Back to School

I’m in school.  Not the four walls and teacher kind of school but spiritual school.  There was a while I didn’t see any lessons coming my way (so unlike Them!) but I’m starting to see them now.  As I’ve said in the past I read a few books on Buddhism, one of the ideals is the Right Way.  Essentially what it means (to my puny mind anyway) is once you get your mind on board all of your actions and thoughts reflect what is good and right for everyone and everything in existence.  I don’t know if it is pure enlightenment or just a monumental step on the path but it seems like a fairly big deal.  I want to remind you that I have already admitted I need to read the book again.  I hear it calling me.

My mind might be on board but it’s on board a bus somewhere driving around the country avoiding me and the work my heart is calling it to do.  So frustrating!  It’s like calling my 9 year old to come put his shoes on when he is interested in the TV.  Ahhh!  TV off.  Take his hand and walk him over to his shoes and even then they don’t necessarily get on his feet. 

I got this flash, in one instant I completely understood The Right Way, and that is exactly how long it lasted, an instant.  I got less than a second of insight and then it was gone.  All I can remember is for one brief moment everything I’ve been yearning to understand made sense.  It might sound a little cruel, the universe giving me what I crave and then taking it away but honestly I don’t see it that way.  What it said to me was, “you are capable of understanding this.”  It showed me that one day, after much work and solid commitment, I will understand what I seek.  I think it was a gift.  It’s sort of like when I begin teaching a lesson.  It is customary practice to tell the students what they will be learning in the upcoming lesson.  That way their minds are focused (I hope) and they know what their goal is and now we have to begin to work toward that goal. 

So I know where I’m going.  I can do this.  I just turned the TV off and sent my mind a one way ticket back home.  It better not dawdle, I think I have an assignment coming due.

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