I was planning to write a post today about holiday gift-giving and how we're all under so much pressure to buy presents that we forget what it's like to be generous. Except on Saturday I started to feel pain around my right eye. I thought it was probably from grinding my teeth (I have TMJ) but by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and redness appeared underneath my bottom eyelid.
I frequently say that I have four children; two furry and two not. The six of us, my husband, two dogs, and two children, have been a family for close to six years. The human-animal bond we have has strengthened each of us as individuals and improved our lives as a whole in ways we could never have dreamed; for which we are eternally grateful.
If you were to go lululemon.com today, you'd see a photo of the Dalai Lama with a quote from His Holiness: "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." Presumably, pricey yoga clothes are not in the same category.
In one of my favorite passages in one of my favorite dharma books, "Loving Kindness,"Sharon Salzberg talks about how she'd been practicing metta, loving kindness meditation, and wasn't sure it was having any effect -- until one morning when she broke something, said to herself what she always said, "You're such a klutz," and then surprised herself with, "But I love you anyway."
What had all the makings for a peaceful evening stroll through the streets of our suburban neighborhood quickly deteriorated into a shout-fest. “Watch it!” I snapped, seeing in my periphery the blade of my son’s new toy slice through the air inches above my dogs’ heads. “Stop it!” I said sternly, again interrupting another attempt at conversation with my mom, to let my son know I didn’t approve of him dicing the wheel of his sister’s stroller. “Not near humans or animals!” I warned, hearing my mom gasp when he jabbed it towards my daughter’s stomach. “Oliver! Not okay!” I yelled, witnessing the tip of the sword barely miss my dog’s nose.
When my kids ask if they can have ice cream, a couple of things happen. My body tenses and I try to push the question away. When that gets me nowhere, I mentally note their recent dietary intake and attempt conviction by responding with a "no." When I catch myself doing this, and take in their award-winning looks of despair, I occasionally change my mind and fork over the frozen gold.
I often tell people who come to the weekly meditation group I lead that there is no perfect place to meditate. We meet in a beautiful, serene room -- where we hear yoga students "ommming" in the studio next door, the beeping of the crosswalk signal, and the skateboarders in the parking lot.
My relationship with drugs has been rocky. One of both love and hate. And the experience I share here is my own. We all own our unique relationship with drugs and I judge no one not because I've been your mother and you mine but because in a very real way I've been you and you me.
My most recent experience has exposed some truths in my life. Drugs and alcohol lye antithetical to the way I’ve learned to live and enjoy my life; an obstacle and not a conduit.