I am fortunate that I meet so many kind people in my daily life, both online and offline. These kind people tell me things like, “You seem so peaceful with your children.” or “You have a lot of patience” or “I wish I could be that calm with my kids.”
I am grateful for these supportive words. It feels wonderful to receive back the ideals that I strive to create. I wish I were like they picture, sitting on a lotus flower, dispensing milk from one breast and missing Lego pieces from the other.
I am a fake, of course.
My mind is neither peaceful, patient or calm. Nor is it playful, gentle, and loving-some of the other ideals I hold in esteem. I’m not intentionally trying to delude others. I certainly don’t feel calm or patient most of the time.
I aspire to stay flexible, centered and loving in all circumstances. Yet I often find myself exasperated, tense, and off kilter. I snap at my kids, worry about the future and the past, grip my steering wheel and glare at a car that cuts me off, and get frustrated with my partner on a daily basis.
When I was a beginning my journey with Yogic philosophy, I thought all of these thought shadows would cease to exist once I attained a certain level. It was disappointing when I learned enough to know that they don’t go away. What happened (once I was done feeling pissed that there wasn’t a magic Yoga meditation to zap my monkey mind into quiescence) was that I learned tools that allow me to choose when to follow a thought or emotion.
My mind is constantly going and it gets annoyed when other people, including me, interrupt its chattering. It takes constant practice to cultivate more patience, connection and playfulness. It’s a a vigilant curiosity about how to create more harmony and more connection. It has to be done in the real world to matter, but the origins of the practice are, of course, in the various forms of meditation and mindfulness.
Every time I meditate, my mind flits around and I choose to come back from following it, I practice. When I’m in a yoga class and my muscles are uncomfortable and I choose to just be with it, I practice. Each time the car in front of me isn’t going the speed I want and I choose not to get angry, I practice. I practice when one of my kids spills the plate or draws on the wall or hits their sibling and I pause before acting.
I’m not always successful at pausing. I am often swept up in emotions. But, with this constant practice, I find it easier to step out of the flow of reaction more easily. I also find apologies and my ability to listen to my kids recount my injustices are more freely given. I also find I’m better able to be present, which means I let go of my missteps and can start fresh right away. There’s always time to reflect on what occurred later, when I’m no longer reactive.
Being a fake relieves a lot of pressure. There’s real beauty in that.
Post for NaBloPoMo
(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)