I finished a book last night (Elizabeth Berg's Open House) that felt depressing and drab at the start. It was hard to read about unhappy characters (especially a child) in difficult circumstances. As I started to put it aside to return to the library, there was a little curiosity in me, wondering where the story may go. I kept reading and am glad I did because it was a great book.
After finishing it, I sat thinking about how much this experience is like life. There are times that I can only see the heaviness. The news this morning, a conflict with my son, my friend going through really hard circumstances, these things make me want to 'put the book down' by somehow stepping away or changing the story. But sometimes, I just need to stay with it.
Hard things have the opportunity for change within them. But we can only get to the change if we stay with the hard things.
When something looks bleak, your child gets the 'worst' teacher this year, your mother needs to go in for a biopsy, you get a crazy cell phone bill and realize your teenagers have been making foolish choices, your child is angry with you about a limit you set and won't talk to you, be a little curious. Can I stay with it, curious and open? Are there seeds of change and transformation somewhere in this situation? Not just the external change I might want, but deeper transformation for me or someone else. Can I be present, leaving space for transformation to happen and being as true as possible to myself?
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.