Meditating. Staring at the scraggly dandelion spiking up from the grass, one the kids missed in their efforts to fulfill the chore given to them of scissoring away all the dandelions and weeds in the front yard.
My mind chatters.
I think about accepting what is, letting go of what is not, a line from the Tao te Ching that I’ve often included in my daily prayers/meditations and used to calm my various anxieties and griefs.
I like how Taoist meditation is moving. You learn how to move with what happens in life. Not just sit out, like vipassana, or lovingkindness meditation, or just plain meditation, like I’m trying to do now. Go with the flow. The only thing is, tai chi makes me think of old people with bad joints and those canvas shoes and Chinese music. I’m not a fan of Chinese music. But it is good to sit here. To hear the birds, feel the wood of the porch, listen to the annoying screech of metal coming from the neighbor’s house. To know that I am one with all these things, not separate, accepting all these things because there is no refusing anything, I am not a separate being in the cafeteria line, deciding what to put on my tray or not. It is all on my tray.
It’s weird to think I’m one with the wood. It is inanimate. What is the meaning of the word “animation”? I wonder if someone somewhere thinks wood is animate. I think about how my neighbor making the annoying metal screeching sound (what the hell is she doing) had her husband tell my kids, playing on the tree swing, to stop laughing so loud one evening, because she wanted to read her book in silence. She is not the most loveable person you’ll ever meet. She has big teeth. One day I asked her what she was reading and it was a New Age book and she owns a shop with a lot of colored glass objects in it, lots of breakable things. It is not a store for children. I wonder if she will notice I am meditating and think better of me for it and not be so quick to want my kids to shut up.
I sit like the Buddha,
I walk like Lao-tzu,
I love like Jesus…
no, no… not quite it… I think like the Buddha? Move like Lao-tzu?
I sit like a Buddhist,
Worship as a Christian,
Aspire to be live as a Taoist…
I run over these stupid variations. Then I think, there’s no goddess in this litany. What do I do like a goddess? Kali’s death-driven face pops up and I think, not that goddess. Ama, the Hindu lady who says she’s the goddess incarnated? She’s loving,t oo. Can’t say I love like Jesus and her.
I think, this is not going anywhere, and I am not meditating, I am thinking. Monkey mind. Get that monkey off my back. Coming down like a monkey. Monkey in the middle. Monkey see monkey do.
I love gorillas.
I can’t ever come up with a single mantra or prayer or statement of faith that sums up neatly how I feel about all these spiritual paths, how I practice them, what I like about each, or dismiss. I can’t. I want to, but I can’t. I want one single line, if possible, to live by. I love when you watch a profile of a famous, successful person, and they have one credo they follow. One liners for the tomb, for the title of their memoir.
I cannot narrow anything down to one line.
This feels agonizing to me.
And I’m still thinking myself into a heart-wound knot.
I can’t control things. I Can’t Control Things! I realize I am always trying to control things. I’ve realized a lot of Truths about myself, but I’ve never thought this before, it seems. What a relief to give up trying to Be Better, Live Better, Improve Myself. Maybe all that effort is actually getting in my own way. I think how this has been the best weekend I’ve had in a long, long time, and not because I tried to force it to be that way. It just happened. It was peaceful and relaxing. Not because it wasn’t active and busy, but because of the lack of striving and attempt to control.
I try to control people, too, as a way to “help” them.
Can’t make my partner different. Or my kids. Or myself. Or the time and place and circumstance I am in now. I mean, I can change things and make choices and such, but I can only do that in the moment and going forward, not backwards, and not by just breaking out a hammer and knocking the foot in the glass slipper.
I remember the perfect present for my partner. I start thinking about where to get it.
I think about birthday parties. I think about how I want to go on a bike trip and picnic for mother’s day.
I don’t recognize the bird call.
My dog is wandering off into the neighbor’s yard, where he likes to poop and eat cat poop and nose around in the chicken poop they have in a red recycling bin to use for fertilizer. I call him back.
I breathe. I try to come back to myself, to this moment, to feeling my breath. I am aware that I am not paying attention, but I’m also feeling whole and good and peaceful. I think about people suffering in Syria. And Baltimore. I think about Evil in the World and how it is not separate either, and how having peace now, I am accessing peace we all can access, instead of evil, and I think that maybe I can wish peace for everyone suffering, but it feels futile, but what else can I do? If we are all connected, then me choosing to feel and practice peace is all I can do. It is something.
I am typing this out, and there is a chicken somewhere, I think that’s what it is, laughing like a crazy baby, who is half-weeping, who is maybe like that baby getting dug out from the packed dust of a building that fell on him during an earthquake. The baby is half out, relieved to be rescued, but still just fed up from being stuck and immobile and alone, he rubs his dusty eyes and weeps into the back of his hand, like an old man.
I hope that’s a chicken.
I am so lucky to be alive. I didn’t make it happen, this being alive thing. It just did, and I am here, completely not of my own doing. I am so blessed.
I ask Jesus to help my heart to stay open, to feel love in the tug of sorrow.
I ask Tara to embolden me.
I open myself up, turn myself inside out, to the world here, and wonder what it will do with me next.