Sitting in my house, noticing the obvious physical messes--crumbs on the table, a sink full of dishes, piles of papers--I know that they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are emotional and mental messes, too, hidden under the surface. All that I've done wrong, the Christmas traditions I didn't start that I wish I had, the many times I lost my temper instead of being present with my family, the countless things we aren't that I'm kind of afraid we should be.
And still, sitting here, my candle and frankincense incense lit, noticing the chaos in my mind, heart, body, house, family, world, I recognize that this is a sacred moment. Moments aren't sacred because they're perfect, they're sacred because they are. Because we are here. Because although we can't undo the old mistakes or change what has led to this moment, we can be here. We can breathe. We can see. We can choose.
I am remembering to love this moment, to surrender to the 'good' and 'bad' parts of it. To love my imperfect self and family and home and holiday and world, sitting in this moment rather than wishing for a better one. I am looking at the mess and recognizing that it is part of the sacred reality that is my life, and that each bit of the mess is also part of the holy (whole-y) truth of my life.
Will you join me? Let's honor the sacred that is already here and live this moment as though it is the very most special moment we will ever have, mess and all.
‘When we look deeply at a flower, we can see that it is made entirely of non-flower elements, like sunshine, rain, soil, compost, air, and time. If we continue to look deeply, we will also notice that the flower is on her way to becoming compost. If we don’t notice this, we will be shocked when the flower begins to decompose. When we look deeply at the compost, we see that it is also on its way to becoming flowers, and we see that flowers and compost ‘inter-are.’ They need each other. A good organic gardener does not discriminate against compost, because he knows how to transform it into marigolds, roses, and many other kinds of flowers.
When we look deeply into ourselves,we see both flowers and garbage. Each of us has anger, hatred, depression, racial discrimination, and many other kinds of garbage in us, but there is no need for us to be afraid. In the way that a gardener knows how to transform compost into flowers, we can learn the art of transforming anger, depression, and racial discrimination into love and understanding. This is the work of meditation.’
-Thich Nhat Hanh, from Touching Peace
I was outside, weeding and fretting about college. My son needs to decide this week where he'll go. I'm freaking out because it's so expensive. We haven't saved enough money for it. He didn't get as much financial aid as I would have liked. The whole college system is pretty *#@*ed up.
And then in a moment, I realized how lucky I am to have these worries. I wasn't trying to talk myself out of worrying, I just suddenly saw what a privilege it is to worry about this. It sounds dramatic, but I am truly lucky that he is alive. There are parents who don't have the luxury of worrying about how to pay for college. We are so fortunate to have this problem!
It could have been a different situation. Honestly, I can get worried about so many of the small things. The problems in my life are mostly in my own thinking, in my habit of arguing with reality. Having a mindfulness practice has brought me more peace over the years as I've learned to recognize the thoughts as they happen. Still I've got this habit of getting lost in thoughts of what I want and what I think 'should' be. Today I was lucky, I came back to the here and now with gratitude.
My life and work are guided by the these core understandings: that all beings (including me!) are capable of transformation and joy, that healthy parenting matters profoundly, and that simple practices can support each of us.